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Could Mental Health Screenings Help Prevent Teen Tragedies?

Following the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook in 2012, high school students in Newtown, Conn., will now receive mental health screenings.

Newtown High School students will soon take part in mental health screenings for suicide and depression, according to one concerned parent who voiced his uneasiness in a recent Letter to the Editor.

A post on Patch’s Notes for Newtown Board highlighted the letter—published in the Newtown Bee—and urged parents to opt-out.

“It is my sincere hope that the school officials will reconsider implementing this subjective, unscientific screening program in our schools,” writes the father.

More than 36 states increased their mental health-care budgets in 2013, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness

The Washington Post reported that in Colorado, where James Holmes opened fire on a crowded movie theater a little over a year ago, the mental-health budget rose by 13.5 percent.

And Connecticut isn’t the only state focused on catching mental-health issues among youth.

“Nebraska created a pilot program to set up mental-health screenings for some secondary school students. Texas instituted training for school staff to identify mental-health problems; Utah will offer a seminar on the issue for parents. And Minnesota passed bills to improve mental-health services linked to schools,” The Washington Post highlighted in a recent article.

What do you think? Should schools invest resources in mental-health screenings and should they be required? Are they a positive for our children or is it an alarming trend? Share your thoughts in the comments below, sound off on our boards or start a blog of your own!

Igor March 05, 2014 at 12:48 PM
Mike who?
Cathedral March 12, 2014 at 10:08 AM
Lorraine.....I am not a school psychologist.....most school psychologists perform psychological testing in order to assess learning disabilities, dyslexia, cognitive impairment, and other troubling behaviors....I am a clinical psychologisyt and I treat severe mental illness......
Lorraine DeVita March 12, 2014 at 10:53 AM
thanks for the response and clarification- Can you possibly answer why SD's have psychologist 's and counselors on staff ? When like a medical illness these children should be seeking help, once diagnosed, outside of the SD. Am I way off base and under the wrong assumption?
steve forte March 12, 2014 at 12:55 PM
Im curious Cathedral , how does one treat severe mental illness?
RGS March 15, 2014 at 02:16 PM
I wanted to provide some insight into what school psychologists do at upper levels. At the High School Level they provide counseling support to students.. Every day there is a flood of students seeking support for various reasons that just need to speak to someone. Our school also has a yearly anonymous questionnaire that they administer which takes the pulse of our students ; drinking, drugs, depression, anxiety, bullying. This way our schools and parents can provide additional support in specific areas if needed -- However I will add that the necessary support hasn't really happened as needed all the time. They Psychologists hold seminars through the school year to talk with the kids on key topics especially as they are new to the HS environment. I can only tell you that in our district more needs to be done. I am aware of 5 suicides and a few overdoses. The school isn't monitoring when students grades take a turn downward or they suddenly stop participating in activities they used to and while parents are trying sometimes they need help too and don't know where to turn. Psychologists can help start the conversation or provide community contacts if the schools will allow it to happen.

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