Today is National Children’s Mental Health Day – for us at UWATX, it’s an opportunity to shed light on a side of students’ lives that often gets overlooked.
In Texas, more than 154,000 children from 9- to 17-years-old are dealing with a severe emotional disturbance. Even more common, an estimated one in five children have a diagnosable mental disorder, the most common being depression.
The complicated emotional life of teens – attempting to manage the transition to adulthood including stress about important standardized tests – becomes even more complex for low-income children, who often deal with added stressors:
When I was a teacher, students regularly came up to me and revealed problems in their home life, sometimes really troubling situations that I didn’t have the skills or resources to address.
Amber Welsh, Middle School Matters Coordinator and former middle school teacher
- Food insecurity
- Poor housing
- Lack of access to health care
- Inadequate transportation
- Neighborhood violence
For most, a combination of these stressors leads to normal mood swings and changes in behavior. For some, the problem escalates to a disorder that requires treatment and, without help, that can lead to bad grades, suspensions, dropping out or, in the worst case, suicide.
To avoid these scenarios, children and teens need a supportive casino pa natet environment to manage the stressors in their lives. Yet many schools lack the resources to provide this support.
“When I was a teacher, students regularly came up to me and revealed problems in their home life, sometimes really troubling situations that I didn’t have the skills or resources to address, not to mention the full class of other students waiting on me,” said Amber Welsh, Middle School Matters Coordinator and former middle school teacher. “With the work I’m doing now, we’re working to bring that help to campuses so teachers can focus on what they do best: teaching.”
Our Middle School Matters initiative, part of the Target Graduation program brings resources like counseling, stress and anger management and psychology resources on middle school campuses where students can easily access the help they need.
And you can help – support National Children’s Mental Health Day by sharing this graphic about mental health or our blog post, print out these tips on how to promote mental health among teens and young adults and support Target Graduation.