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Poll: Parents concerned about students’ mental health

Poll: Parents concerned about students’ mental health


Virginia ranked 48th in Mental Health America’s 2023 State of Mental Health Report for Youth Mental Health, which indicated higher rates of mental illness among the state’s youth and limited access taking care. (Adobe Stock)

RICHMOND A recent survey from the National PTA found that student mental health is a priority issue for parents across the United States

The survey showed that 72% of parents support schools with mental health resources, up from 65% in 2022. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s mental health plan proposes to expand mental health programs in schools and expand behavioral tele-health operations in high schools and college campuses.

Dr. Kathleen Ethier, director of the division of adolescent and school health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a recent PTA national town hall that one solution to improving the mental health of young people is to make them feel connected.

“Young people need support and connection when it comes to safety,” Ethier explained. “We know that when young people feel connected to people at school, when they feel people at school care about them, care about their success, care about their well-being; their mental and emotional health is better, not only during adolescence, but into adulthood. It’s that really powerful protective factor.

The National PTA survey also showed that parents want educators to be trained in trauma-informed care. Earlier this year, Virginia joined more than 30 states In pass legislation require training in trauma-informed care. However, a similar 2022 bill in the US House of Representatives, requiring training on a national scaledid not reach committee level.

In addition to school resources, parents want to be more involved in helping to improve their child’s mental health. The National PTA survey found that 75% of parents want to be informed when their child is receiving mental health support in schools.

Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education, said families provide a strong foundation for ensuring the mental health of young people improves.

“Because parent-family partnerships with schools are essential to raising healthy, happy, and fulfilled children, we must continue to build strong foundations between schools and the families they serve, so that families feel comfortable engaging, communicating and collaborating on their child’s education and care,” Cardona insisted.

Although the mental health crisis affects all young people, it has been particularly difficult for girls. CDC 2023 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that more than half of American teenage girls felt sad or hopeless in 2021, double the level of boys during the same period, and a 60% increase from 2011.




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