School hosts round-table discussion talking about mental health, getting resources to districts

DELAWARE – Mental health is a real crisis nationwide, especially within our youth, and the issue doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

“75 percent of children experience anxiety or depression at some point,” Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long said.

“We have seen an increase in suicidal ideation, in just screenings it’s up almost 700,000 higher people reporting suicidal ideation,” Amy Kennedy, Education Director for Kennedy Forum, said.

And, we’re told that uptick in suicidal thoughts is putting pressure on hospitals.

“What the big concern that we’ve seen is a shortage in emergency room hospital beds and that’s not just the COVID patients, it’s young people in emergency rooms with suicidal ideation,” Kennedy said.

With all this on the table, some leaders in Delaware aren’t just watching the problem unfold. They’re being proactive.

“So, we do those things you’ve all heard about that includes screening and curriculum prevention, social emotional learning, but we know that there’s going to be kids who need more help than that,” Kennedy said.

The Capital School District said they also aren’t just taking a seat back. They held a round table discussion Wednesday discussing the trauma and what they’ve seen during COVID-19.

“We have seen an uptick in issues that spur from social media, incidents where we may see students not able to cope with stress,” Dr. Vilicia Cade, Chief Executive Officer and Superintendent, said. “We may see disputes with our students, we may see some of our students shut down and increase in depression, anxiety.”

The District said they put together a multi-tiered plan to provide support for these students.

“From intensive to the least intensive environment without core curriculum integrates components of social emotional learning to individual counseling with clinicians, psychologists,” Dr. Cade said.

And, with this mental health crisis ongoing leaders know they’ll need to continue to be proactive and make sure the issue won’t hurt students’ ability in the classroom.

“We want students to read, we want students to be able to do math effectively we want students to understand history and science and all our content areas,” Duncan Young, CEO of Effective School Solutions, said. “All of that is vitally important but we need to make sure that we got an incredibly strong social emotional foundation to access learning opportunities.”

Categories: Delaware, Local News