Student mental health is the top concern of school board members, according to a new national survey

Board members indicate strong support for resources that help teens identify and respond to mental health or substance abuse challenges, regardless of political orientation

washington, January 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — School board members across the country consider student mental health the most pressing issue facing schools and students today, according to a new national survey of school board members commissioned by Mental Health First Aid . America (MHFA), a course that teaches individuals how to identify, understand, and respond to the signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance abuse, use disorders in their friends and neighbors.

Student mental health was the No. 1 concern for school board members: 86% reported being either “extremely concerned” (56%) or “very concerned” (30%) expressed concerns about school funding Higher levels of extreme worry (51%), staffing challenges (48%) and school safety (46%) than no concern.

It comes as the country is grappling with a youth mental health crisis. Not only is suicide the third leading cause of death for youth aged 15-19, but one in four teens aged 12 to 17 have had a substance use disorder or a major depressive episode in the past year.

School board members see family and home life (66%), social media (57%) and bullying (44%) as the top three issues most affecting student mental health – COVID-19 pandemic (23%) more than the interferences caused by it.

They also said they strongly believe state and local policy makers should do “much more” to address student mental health, with 69% saying state legislatures need to do “much more”, and 62% say county officials need to do a “lot more.”

When it comes to spotting the signs of a student facing a mental health challenge, including suicidal thoughts or behavior, 80% of school board members say parents, close family members and friends are most likely to see the signs Huh.

Recognizing the signs is an important first step, but individuals also need the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health or substance abuse challenge. Teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) is an evidence-based training, sponsored by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, designed to provide adolescents aged 10-12 or 15-18 with signs of a mental health or substance use challenge and Helps to identify symptoms. in a friend. It teaches youth how to start a supportive conversation about mental health and substance use with friends and most importantly, how to seek help from a responsible and trustworthy adult.

When school board members were asked how important it is for high school students in grades 10-12 to have access to TMHFA or a similar program, 66% said it was either “extremely important” (31%) or was “very important” (35%). These numbers remain strong regardless of self-identified political orientation.

“At a time when so many of our children are facing a mental health or substance abuse crisis, school board members have recognized the need to respond,” said Tramaine EL-Amin, MHFA Customer Experience Officer. “They also know that schools, families and teens themselves have an important role to play in addressing this crisis and are eager to find tools that can make a difference. Since 2019, Teen MHFA has helped more than 700 Has proven to be a valuable resource for more. Schools in 36 states.”

over 2.9 million adults in United States Trained at MHFA. Peer-reviewed studies show that MHFA training increases their confidence in the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for mental health and substance use challenges, as well as their ability and likelihood to help someone in crisis. Mental health first responders have a greater ability to identify the appropriate types of professional and self-help resources for individuals with mental health or substance use challenges. For more information on teen mental health first aid, visit the MHFA website.

344 current school board members were surveyed Sept. 30-Oct. 17, 2022, by Echelon Insights on behalf of Mental Health First Aid, sampled via the web using the universe of current school board members. The margin of error calculated for a weighted sample of 344 current school board members is +/- 5.4%.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an evidence-based training program, administered by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, that teaches individuals how to identify, understand, and respond to mental health and substance use challenges. Over 2.9 million people completed United States MHFA is trained by a dedicated base of over 15,000 trainers.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Sofia Majlesi
[email protected]

The Resource National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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