Teen Mental Health eNews
This Mental Health Awareness Month, we’d like to celebrate our schools, filled with heroes who—academic expectations notwithstanding—are increasingly responding to the mental health needs of our youth. To faculty, staff, coaches and administrators: you are there listening and advising, supporting kids who are struggling, identifying warning signs, coordinating with parents and providers, and partnering with organizations like CHC to provide the best possible support networks for our kids. You are saving lives every day.
According to the Child Mind Institute (CMI), “access to mental health services in school-based health centers leads to a tenfold increase in treatment.” Moreoever, teachers are tracking their students’ mental well-being. In alignment with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations, schools like Paly are moving to later start times. And suicide prevention legislation is passing California’s Senate floor with strong bipartisan support.
But in order to make a large-scale, lasting impact on the mental health of our youth, a 2016 CMI Children’s Mental Health Report concluded that schools must adopt evidence-based practices and partner with mental health professionals “from the policy level on down to the individual child.”
We couldn’t agree more. Here are some of the ways CHC is partnering with local schools to bolster mental health supports for students, teachers and parents:
CHC hosts quarterly school counselor and wellness team breakfasts to share best practices for dealing with mental health issues like self-injury, cultural competence, and suicide prevention. The group brainstorms ways to address mild-moderate-high risk needs, improve communication and coordination of services, and develop different tiers of support between schools and clinicians.
Teen Wellness Committee (TWC)
Students from 10 local high schools meet bimonthly to voice ideas, develop solutions, and take collective action to address teen mental health in the community. The group offers teens a forum to talk to peers from various high schools about their thoughts and experiences related to mental health. This June, the TWC is self-publishing a book of uncensored teen mental health narratives.
Lydian Academy Partnership
In an exciting new partnership, CHC is providing extensive mental health resources to Lydian Academy. With on-site access to CHC’s highly qualified therapists during the school day, more Lydian students are going to school, staying in school, and thriving in school. For those who need more intensive support, CHC and Lydian coordinate to schedule academic classes in the morning, allowing for participation in targeted CHC programs in the afternoon, such as the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP).
CHC provides bilingual parent and teacher education and consultations free of charge to underserved communities, channeling services through trusted partners like Ravenswood City School District, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, Eastside College Prep, KIPP Excelencia, All Five, Able Works, Girls to Women and more. Said one of our partner organizations, “because of the lack of mental health resources in our community, it’s often the first level of support our parents have ever had.”
On-Campus Wellness Fairs
CHC has been involved with numerous wellness events and teen panels at local middle and high schools. These forums provide an opportunity for peers to informally engage each other in the mental health conversation, removing stigma and avoiding barriers to help-seeking. Panelists may share advice on warning signs, what to say to someone you are concerned about, when it’s time to seek help, and how to find it.
CHC hosts free teacher education classes on a variety of topics, such as executive functioning strategies, the power of a growth mindset, and encouraging positive classroom behavior.
In addition to the free weekly parent education classes at CHC, our clinicians have visited several schools to speak with audiences of students, parents and teachers about topics such as Parenting Wired Teens; How to Help Your Anxious Young Child; Executive Functioning Skills; and ADHD – What About Medication?
CHC helps schools support students in their transitions to and from Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) or hospitalizations, and facilitates coordination between mental health providers, school staff and appropriate medical professionals.
Together in wellness,
Ramsey Khasho, Chief Clinical Officer at CHC