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SAN JOSE, CA – The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) released a research brief about the importance of expanding school-based wellness centers and programs amid a youth mental health crisis.
“The youth mental health crisis manifests every day in schools, contributing to higher drop-out rates, student disengagement, chronic absenteeism, increased disciplinary actions, and the tragic loss of students, “ stated Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, County Superintendent of Schools, in a newly released research brief on the efficacy of implementing a school-based approach to student wellness.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issues and accelerated the need for youth mental health services. According to the research brief, in the first year of the pandemic, intentional self-harm among 13- to 18-year-olds increased by 91%, overdoses increased by 95%, and diagnoses of major depressive disorder increased by 84%. Additionally, research indicates students are 10 to 21 times more likely to receive behavioral health services when they are provided on a school campus.
Recognizing the mental health needs of students, the SCCOE supported schools across Santa Clara County in establishing wellness centers and programs with support from the Mental Health Student Service Act (MHSSA) Grant. To inform this important work, the SCCOE Youth Advisory Group was created to ensure diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities were heard in the creation of these programs and centers.
These wellness centers are already proving to have a significant impact on students. One wellness center recorded more than 700 student visits in the first week. Additionally, student exit surveys indicated a dramatic increase in students feeling happy, calm and less sad after leaving the wellness centers.
“There is strong evidence in support of these investments in schools,” said Dr. Dewan.
To read the entire research brief go to https://sccoe.to/wellnessbrief and to learn more about Youth Mental Health and Wellness centers go to https://sccoe.to/youthmentalhealthandwellness
About the Santa Clara County Office of Education
Working collaboratively with school and community partners, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional, business, and technology services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The County Office of Education directly serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The SCCOE also provides academic and fiscal oversight and monitoring to districts in addition to the 22 Santa Clara County Board of Education authorized charter schools.
For more information about the Santa Clara County Office of Education, please visit www.sccoe.org and follow us @SCCOE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.