1 in 7
The 2016 National Survey of Children's Health, a nationwide survey administered to parents of children and teens, provided the context to understand those numbers above. Of the 46.6 million children ages 6 through 18 whose parents completed the survey, 7.7 million had at least one mental health condition -- such as depression, anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder -- and only half received treatment or counseling from a mental health provider in the 12 months prior to the survey.
In North Carolina, the state I work in, the numbers were even more skewed -
The number of children with a diagnosed mental health condition who weren't treated by a provider was 72.2% in North Carolina. 72.2%
Moving forward, how does that inform the work of school-based staff? Majority of the time that students spend their lives are in schools. And, we all know the stories of teachers/staff at schools that become counselors and therapists for our children and their families.
But that just isn't going to cut it...we need more school-based mental health professionals working with children. We need teachers trained on recognizing the signs and symptoms of the most common internalizing and externalizing conditions in our youth. We need staff sensitive to the needs of our students, building relationships with families so they see the value in schools and not the burden in them.
We need change. And, it begins with the school-based staff in our buildings now.