More Connecticut students report feeling sad and hopeless and they are seeking help at school-based health clinics, as more students become aware of the services, counselors say. Their problems range from bullying to family issues to anxiety. As the national post-Newtown conversation about mental health issues and school security continues, advocates are pushing for more early intervention programs, such as the health clinics, inside schools. “Securing buildings from the outside may keep somebody out, but it’s not helping somebody that is behind those doors,” said Shari Shapiro, the executive director of Kids in Crisis, a Fairfield County nonprofit that has an in-school counseling service called TeenTalk in six schools. The percentage of teens who said they’ve attempted suicide has ranged between 6.7 and 12 percent for the last decade, according to the state’s bi-annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
If you missed our teen depression forum last week you can view it online. Thanks to CT-N, “Uncovering Our Kids: Towards A Better Understanding Of Teen Mental Health” is available for viewing. Learn about the warning signs, various treatments and programs for teen depression from our stellar panel: Dr. Harold Schwartz, psychiatrist-in-chief of Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living; Kim Nelson, social worker, Wheeler Clinic; Jill Holmes Brown, director, school-based health center; Jeff Vanderploeg, vice president, Child Health & Development Institute; and Nancy von Euler, a mom, who lost her daughter to suicide. The forum is available here.
As state policymakers debate ways to improve mental health services for youths, the Connecticut Health I-Team (www.c-hit.org) is hosting a forum May 7 that will bring together parents, clinicians, educators and others to discuss ways to identify, treat and prevent teen depression. “Uncovering Our Kids: Towards a Better Understanding of Teen Mental Health,” will feature a panel of experts in adolescent behavioral health who will lead a discussion about teen mental health screening, intervention and treatment. The Conn. Health I-Team, in collaboration with ConnectiCare and Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, invites the public to come “talk openly about teen mental health, learn from experts, and help Connecticut reduce the stigma of depression and mental illness,” said C-HIT co-founder and editor Lynne DeLucia. The event will run from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lyceum Conference Center in Hartford.