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Minneapolis: Schools see preteens increasingly struggle with stress and anxiety

July 22, 2018, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Washington, Ramsey county schools to boost mental health help for preteens http://www.startribune.com/washington-ramsey-county-schools-to-boost-mental-health-help-for-preteens/488840321/ Schools in Washington County and parts of Ramsey County are intensifying efforts to help preteens struggling with stress and anxiety, which can lead to more serious mental health problems if not treated…. Two new grants will bring therapists into middle schools in those two east metro counties. Last week, Youth Service Bureau was awarded $50,000 from the Andeavor Foundation for an initiative to create safer schools. The funds will be split between the South Washington School District and the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District. Sherman said plans are in the works to bring a therapist into the schools once a week in addition to offering educational opportunities for parents to learn to recognize signs of mental illness. The organization has also received $5,500 from the United Way of Washington County East to provide a mental health classroom presentation for all sixth- and seventh-grade students at Stillwater’s Oak-Land Middle School this coming school year. Youth Service Bureau plans to conduct about 30 of the presentations, which will focus on teaching prevention and coping strategies for stress, anxiety and depression. “We are finding a lot of middle-school kids who are so stressed out ... by the time they get to middle school, they feel they can’t handle everything in life,” Sherman said. Youth Service Bureau is applying for additional funding to expand its presence in the schools in Washington and eastern Ramsey counties…. That means schools are increasingly becoming the front lines in identifying students struggling with mental health problems and steering them toward help. “You can’t help but see what’s happening around the country in schools,” Sherman said, referring to school shootings and school violence. “We decided to be much more proactive in all of this work. We want to reach kids before issues get out of control.”…

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