One in five young people in the United States are living with a mental health condition but less than half receive the services and support they need to succeed, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Natural stress stemming from adolescence can often be overshadowed by emerging trauma related to chronic and unresolved problems at home or untreated health conditions.
The frequency of school shootings is also raising concerns about whether enough is being done in public schools to address student wellness.
There are various local and national initiatives working to increase sensitivity and responsiveness to students emotional issues and traumas, and connect them with the right resources.
Teachers, coaches and district employees – even including bus drivers – can be trained to recognize signs of emotional distress and provide an avenue to address a student's specific circumstances.
Is individual attention at school a viable strategy to ensure students cope with emotional issues in healthy ways? Can schools afford the time and effort these intervention programs will cost?
In what ways could more student support influence attitudes inside and outside the classroom?
How can schools and the community at large develop actionable awareness about the social and emotional wellness of young people?
- John Hernandez, director of student services for East Central Independent School District
- Lauren Geraghty, director of strategic impact initiatives for Communities in Schools
- Marissa del Rosario, project coordinator for The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, a collaboration of Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Harvard Law School
*Full audio from this interview will be available by 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24