This morning I read some shocking news about teenage depression rates. Namely, one in 25 teens attempt suicide and one in Eight consider taking their own lives.
If you’re like me that news will make you feel sick in your stomach.
The plain and simple truth of the matter is this: schools aren’t doing enough to protect teens.
So what can you and I do, right now, to change this disturbing trend and to counter teenage depression?
Perhaps the best solution is a school-based health center.
Amy Tran has been involved with education and labor issues for eight years. She tells us, “At the inner-city school-based health center (SBHC) where I interned in 2013-2014, we couldn’t always prevent tragedy in the lives of our students. Every week, some 250 students used our services, which ranged from medical services to counseling to snacks. From these encounters, I saw first-hand what data back up: a facility allowing students, teachers and mental health professionals to coordinate support in one place leads to better mental-health access for teens who need it most.”
Mental health services in both North America and the UK are simply inadequate. In America, suicide is the third leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 24. This year, around 4,600 lives will be lost to suicide. At the same time, one in twenty-five teens will attempt suicide, and 90% of those who attempt suicide will be left with a mental health disorder, the most common being addictions, depression, and anxiety.
A new study has revealed that suicides among African American children have doubled in the past two decades.
Scientific research has proven that school-based health centers (SBHCs) are effective at helping to identify mental health concerns and to prevent suicides. Schools that have SBHCs have less emergencies and less hospital visits and students are 10 to 21 times more likely to use mental health services at a SBHC than would use a community health center network or HMO.
What’s disturbing is the fact that despite these studies, only 2% of schools in the US have school-based health services. That’s mostly due to the fact that school-based health services cose between $90,000 and $400,000.
Odds are that your children’s school doesn’t have a school-based health service. But the odds are also that at your child’s school one in 25 teens will attempt suicide. This needs to stop right now.