School Mental Health Programs See Increased Use In Connecticut

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.

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