February 2019
Newsletter of the Center for Educational Improvement
Students' Mental Health
Dear Educators,

Student mental health . . . what is the role of schools? What support is available to help schools better meet the mental health needs of youth? Read about the issues and how CEI is supporting the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center of New England with Yale University's Program for Recovery and Community Health
The Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative:
 A School-based mental health initiative through the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center, Northeast Region
By Martha Staeheli, Ph.D., Yale University Program for Recovery and Community Health

When Joanna was placed in a foster home in Wooster, MA at the beginning of 8 th grade, it was immediately clear to her foster mother, Lisa, that Joanna was struggling. Having suffered sexual abuse and neglect due to her parents’ substance use disorders, Joanna was having difficulty adjusting to her new home and school, fighting with her foster sister and cutting herself at home, not making friends at school, and failing math class. 

When Lisa spoke to Joanna’s guidance counselor for advice about improving Joanna’s school experience; the counselor told Lisa that she didn’t have much experience with the kind of extensive trauma Joanna had suffered and wasn’t sure how to advise Joanna’s teachers to help. The more Lisa spoke to the staff at Joanna’s school, the clearer it became that though most were concerned and caring, they were unsure about what to do next or how to help Joanna be successful. Read more
Removing Roadblocks to Effective Recognition and Treatment of Adolescent Mental Illness
By June Naureckas, CEI Intern

American youth lack the knowledge to recognize their own mental health concerns. Even when they know they need help, they have few resources because mental health care in U.S. middle and high schools is underfunded and understaffed.

An Under-Treated Epidemic

Mental illness in American children is chronically under-treated and under-diagnosed. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 2015 report, 21.4% of youth ages 13-18 experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%. However, the same report indicates that less than half of mentally ill youth receive treatment and health resources are unevenly distributed, with Latino/a and uninsured youth most at risk of not receiving treatment.

Emotion Regulation, Adult-Youth Relationships, and Youth Suicide
By Kristen Hayes, CEI Intern

According to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide increased in nearly every U.S. state. It was the 2 nd leading cause of death in age groups 10-14 and 15-19, claiming 517 and 2,491 lives respectively (CDC, 2019). Researchers and mental health experts continue to look for solutions to these looming statistics and have delivered some ways in which schools and educators can help.

Pisani et al. (2013) proposed that efforts to reduce youth suicide should focus on developmentally-salient risk and protective processes. They investigated emotional regulation difficulties and relationships with trusted adults as potential risks and buffers for suicide attempts in high school students.

Improving Mental Health in Schools

T he Yale University Program for Recovery and Community Health  and the Center for Educational Improvement invite school leaders in the New England region to learn more and to join the Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative .

Applicable States:
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont


"Connection is why we're here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”
~ Brené Brown, Research Professor
The Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston

Help your teachers be the link... the link to happiness. The caring link to joy. You can be the link to a caring, compassionate school community for students and families in-need.

Christine Mason
Center for Educational Improvement