Mental Health Needs in a Large Urban School District: Findings from a Web-based Survey

Elizabeth Koschmann, Robin Jacob, Katja Robinson, Megan Foster Friedman, A. Foster, Natalie Rodriguez-Quintana, Jennifer Vichich, Maureen Smith, Hersheena Rajaram
This study presents new empirical data about the prevalence of youth mental health needs in one large urban district serving substantial numbers of students of color. Students in this district are experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety at rates higher than national averages and over a third of those who need care are not accessing it. Addressing the mental health needs of students is a high priority for staff, but they need more training and support, as well as support for their own vicarious trauma and high levels of burnout.
Key Findings:
34% of DPSCD students reported moderate/severe depression symptoms; 22% had seriously considered suicide in the past year. Rates exceed national averages. 37% of students with severe depression and 34% of those with suicidal ideation had not accessed mental health supports. Staff indicated high levels of burnout and substantial interest in learning about self-care strategies or coping with vicarious trauma. Over 75% of teachers and school mental health professionals expressed interest in learning about best practices for supporting students impacted by trauma or mental illness.
Lack of access to effective adolescent mental health treatment is a significant public health concern in the United States.” Page 6