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New Report on Youth Mental Health
posted by: Melissa | July 22, 2021, 08:27 PM   

This week, Mental Health America released a report on the condition of youth mental health in the United States. The report looked at the increasing levels of poor mental health among teens and the state of mental health education and other services in the nation’s schools.

The top line of the report is not promising. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation was already dealing with worsening mental health and the pandemic seems to have increased those trends. Additionally, the trend is much worse for some populations. Native American and multiracial teens had much higher rates of depression, and thoughts of suicide were highest among Black and Hispanic students.

While this may seem daunting, classroom and school-based educators in all school settings have a role in addressing these issues, moving forward. The report includes specific principles that schools can use when developing programs to improve student mental health in their buildings. Providing mental health services in schools is one of the key ways to reduce existing gaps in access to care.

The report also recommends that educators implement mental health education as well as social emotional learning (SEL) in their schools and classrooms. SEL interventions have been proven to have positive outcomes for student populations across racial and socioeconomic divides.

Perhaps the most important finding of the report for educators is the role that youth leadership can play in advocating for laws and policies to improve student mental health. According to the report, “The fastest, most efficacious, and most equity-focused way to meet the needs of young people is to give them the space and the encouragement to ask for what they need.” As educators, we are in a position where we can help students advocate for themselves and can connect them with needed resources.

On the whole, the report is full of valuable information for educators who are concerned about the mental health in their classroom and provides educators with concrete steps and policies to work toward both in and out of schools. You can download the report from the Mental Health America website.

Mental Health America is a national nonprofit that helps those living with mental illness and is dedicated to improving the overall mental health of the nation.

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