Mental Health and Schools
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For information about
mental health and schools, contact:

   Megan LaPalm

  Mental Health and Schools

Child and Adolescent Mental Health

The majority of mental illness onset may occur in early childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood. Adolescent youth are also vulnerable for co-occurring substance use and abuse. Additionally, challenges that do not meet diagnostic criteria, including adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and life-related mental problems and distress, may appear in in school-age youth and compound mental health issues and concerns.

Fact: 20% of youth ages 13-18 have, or will have, a serious mental illness.
Reality: Mental illness is common during adolescence.

Fact: 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24.
Reality: Adolescence and young adulthood are critical periods for identification and intervention of mental illness.

Fact: The average delay between symptom onset and mental health interventions is 8-10 years.
Reality: Early identification and treatment engagement is vital for improved quality of life.

Fact: Nearly 50% of students age 14 and older with a mental illness drop out of high school.
Reality: Students with mental illness need improved supports to succeed in school, career, college, and life.

Fact: Washington youth with co-occurring needs (both mental health and substance abuse) were the least likely to graduate on time (12%) and most likely to drop out (80%).
Reality: Youth with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse needs are less likely to graduate from and more likely to drop out of high school than youth without co-occurring needs.

Fact: In Washington, over 50% of youth in grades 10 and 12 reported not being able to stop or control worrying in the past 2 weeks. Over 60% of youth in grades 10 and 12 reported feeling nervous or anxious.
Reality: Youth are affected by mental distress caused by environmental stressors (examples: family crisis, end of a significant relationship, or death of a loved one). This impacts their daily experience in school and at home.

Fact: In Washington, over 30% of youth in grades 10 and 12 reported depressive feelings, including feeling sad or hopeless for at least two weeks in the last year. Over 25% of 8th graders reported depressive feelings.
Reality: Research consistently shows a strong link between suicide and depression. A diagnosis of depression elevates a person’s risk for suicide.

Fact: In Washington, one in five 10th graders seriously considered suicide in the past year. Between 14%-16% of youth in grades 8, 10, and 12 reported they made a plan for how they would attempt suicide.
Reality: There are many risk factors for suicide, including having a mental disorder, substance-abuse disorder, or co-occurring disorder.

Information adopted from:

What's new

Mental Health & High School Curriculum

This opportunity is open to all schools (Grades 9-12)


For Parents and Schools/Educators

   Updated 3/8/2018

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