Student Well-Being Letter to the Editor

Feds Show No Urgency for Mental-Health Resources

April 09, 2019 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

As a recent Education Week article pointed out, student depression is on the rise (“Schools Grapple With Student Depression as Data Show Problem Worsening,” March 14, 2019). While research shows there is an increase in mental illness among teens, I am not aware of any “intentional and strategic” plan to help students in my school district.

The federal, state, and local policymakers may be too late in exploring ways of preventing an epidemic. According to an analysis co-authored by psychologist Jean Twenge that the article references, in 2017, approximately 13.2 percent of teens 12-17 reported symptoms of a major depressive episode within the last year. Despite calls for intensive support for students diagnosed with mental illness, there is still no urgency in federal response to support schools.

Data show that the national average student-to-counselor ratio is one counselor to 482 students, which limits the effective support needed to address students and their needs. Rather than highlighting the issue after a tragedy, there should be greater emphasis on implementing mental-health programs tailored with additional support staff or counselors. In addition, policymakers should collectively collaborate with districts and school leaders to address the growing concerns of mental health and student wellness.

It may be difficult for districts to adopt an immediate plan to help students, but small changes will eventually lead to big shifts.

Simone Garnett


Brooklyn, N.Y.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the April 10, 2019 edition of Education Week as Feds Show No Urgency for Mental-Health Resources


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Q&A How to Address Parents' Concerns That SEL Goes Against Their Values
A Texas instructional coach shares insights she has learned from talking with hesitant parents.
3 min read
Illustration concept of emotional intelligence, showing a woman balancing emotion control using her hand to balance smile and sad face icons.
Student Well-Being Pause Before You Post: A Social Media Guide for Educators in Tense Political Times
5 tips for educators and their students to avoid making harmful or false statements online that they later regret.
6 min read
Tight crop of a man's hands using a mobile phone with the popup box that reads "Delete post, Are you sure you want to delete this post? Cancel or Delete"
Gina Tomko/Education Week + Getty
Student Well-Being Opinion What Does the Dangerous Political Climate Mean for Schools?
Educators and researchers offer advice for navigating political polarization in the classroom.
5 min read
Grunge Collage styled urban graphic of US election
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Student Well-Being Q&A Why Educators Need to Better Understand What Drives Kids' Cellphone Addictions
As more school and day-to-day tasks are completed on smartphones and computers, teens struggle to manage their screen time.
3 min read
Young man and woman without energy on giant phone screen with speech and heart icons above them. Addiction. Contemporary art collage. Concept of social media, influence, online communication
Vanessa Solis/Education Week + iStock