Westborough, MA: 'Our public schools recognize the prevalence of mental health issues'

Jan 9, 2018, Westborough (MA) Community Advocate: SYFS aims to help educators through Youth Mental Health course It was once a topic that was rarely talked about – mental illness, particularly in children. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of many medical professionals, social services providers, educators and others, mental illness is no longer the taboo subject it once was. Statistics show that one in five children ages 12-18 has, or will have, a serious mental illness; four out of five children will go undiagnosed; and 50 percent of lifetime mental illnesses have an onset before age 14. Studies have shown that children with mood or anxiety disorders are nearly twice as likely to suffer from substance abuse. … “Our public schools recognize the prevalence of mental health issues during adolescence and they are committed to partnering with SYFS in increasing mental health literacy among the faculty, eradicating stigma and linking kids to services to stop the onset and progression of mental illness,” she said. … Over the course of the eight hours, participants will learn to recognize the warning signs of common mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, psychosis, eating disorders, substance use disorder and disruptive behavior disorder. Upon completion of the course, participants will receive Youth Mental Health First Aid certification valid for three year. The response from local educators has been overwhelmingly positive. ….” Jennifer Callaghan, assistant principal of the Melican School, noted that “the middle school years are crucial for children. Mental health issues that go undetected or unaddressed during these formative years can lead to more serious issues later in life.” “By engaging in the Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification Program, we hope to empower our teachers, administrators, and staff to better support our students in the area of mental health,” she added.