Special Report

Tackling the Mental Health Crisis in Schools

October 16, 2023
Mental health solutions SR Lead 04
Laura Baker/Education Week and iStock/Getty
America's adolescents today are sadder, more anxious, and lonelier than previous generations, as part of what the U.S. Surgeon General has called "the defining public health crisis of our time." The dire state of teen and child mental health is prompting schools to step up in big ways.

Two-thirds of schools have added to their mental health service offerings since the start of the pandemic, and more than a quarter have added classes on social, emotional, and mental well-being, federal data show.

The limited availability of mental health professionals and inconsistent funding, however, continue to throw up barriers to schools that want to expand their array of mental health services for students who might otherwise have no access.

This special report delves into the reasons why adolescents’ mental health has been growing worse—particularly for LGBTQ+ youth—as well as the difficulties schools face. But it also offers some hope, with more schools squarely focused on doing what they can to address this problem, and on the well-being of their employees: America’s teachers, whose well-being—or lack thereof—matters for their students.
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