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Martinsburg, WV: Schools partner with local mental health providers

Mar 11, 2018, Martinsburg (WV) Journal: Helping youth with mental health is critical http://www.journal-news.net/opinion/editorials/2018/03/helping-youth-with-mental-health-is-critical/ Up to one in five kids in the U.S. show signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. … A story published Saturday in The Journal highlighted how mental health is being addressed in area schools. We feel that we’re moving in the right direction, and we need to continue down this path. Programs in place right here in the Eastern Panhandle can make a difference down the road. By voicing support of such programs, and speaking out on the issue, we can create even more awareness, and hopefully have an even larger impact in the future. Up until 2013, no such statistics on the prevalence of mental health issues in children existed. On May 16, 2013, a CDC report was released that described, for the first time, federal activities that tracked U.S. children’s mental disorders. Why it took so long is troubling, but at least it helped to set the stage for programs such as Project AWARE, which is now implemented in Berkeley County schools. It is designed to help state and local education agencies increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth. It also trains educators and other youth-serving adults in “Youth Mental Health First,” so they can detect and respond to mental health issues – and perhaps, most importantly, connect youth and families to appropriate services. … Greenberg said Project Aware has recently partnered with East Ridge Health Systems – a local mental health clinic in Martinsburg – to help more students in the area. Through this partnership, Greenberg estimated that between the program’s first and second years of operation, it more than doubled the amount of referrals. … Children struggling with mental health issues require more resources, and, if not correctly addressed, these issues can become much more costly and possibly destructive down the road. By helping youth early on, we focus on prevention. …