KeepHealthCare.ORG – Mental health problems increase among students, school officials say
Mental health in students.JPG
The Tuscaloosa County School System reports a significant number of its students face mental health issues.
School officials said at a meeting Monday at least 1,000 of their students were dealing with this.
Clinical Psychologist Dr. John Burkhardt said this is not a new problem, but a growing concern. He said children have a harder time talking about what they’re feeling, and confirmed an increase in depression and anxiety.
“We know the rate for child is three to five percent,” Burkhardt said, “And in adolescents, it goes up to eight percent.”
Breona Hamlett’s son is in 7th grade. She said the school system has counselors, but she didn’t know of any special resources available for mental health.
“I do think that because suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents, that they would benefit from having additional resources in schools to help combat mental health awareness,” Hamlett said.
Dr. Burkhardt said adults talk more openly about what they’re feeling, but most children don’t know how to be that open. He said the biggest challenge to treatment is a changing landscape.
“When I got bullied as a kid, it happened at the bus or playground and then you go home and it stops,” Burkhardt said, “But with kids being active on so many social media platforms, the bully can follow you all the way home…that pressure is always kind of constant for them.”
Burkhardt called the consistent increase in mental health challenges a very serious problem. He said that’s why it’s absolutely necessary to teach children how to ask for help early on.
ABC 33/40 reached out to several people inside the school system to get more information on resources available or ones they might consider adding. So far we have not been able to speak with anyone.