The ongoing crisis in youth mental health continues to raise alarms, increasing the call for additional supports to be available in schools. Last October, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association declared this issue a national state of emergency. Less than two months later, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a public health advisory highlighting the need for immediate awareness and action for this crisis.
Last school year alone, Gaggle discovered over 142,000 references to suicide and self-harm in students’ school-issued accounts. More than 8,700 of these incidents revealed an imminent threat, requiring district intervention to ensure student well-being. With almost four in every ten student safety incidents falling into this category during the 2020–21 school year, our data highlights the struggles today’s students are experiencing with depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm.
This growing crisis likely comes as no surprise to educators, who see the struggles students face firsthand. A June 2021 survey of nearly 300 district leaders showed that seven out of ten districts planned to provide mental health programming for students during the 2021–22 school year. In fact, school districts across the nation are investing in mental health services to help support students, with three main drivers for providing these resources: the impact of the pandemic, the link between students’ readiness to learn and their well-being, and the infusion of federal funding that can be used for mental health programming.
It’s vital that struggling students are identified and offered the services and supports they need—before it’s too late. Several organizations provide 24/7 support to those in need of help. Many students, parents, and educators may not know these exist, so please be sure to share this information. Awareness and access can make all the difference to someone who is struggling.
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 for free 24/7 support with a trained crisis counselor for a variety of concerns, including anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Access free and confidential support 24/7 (via 1-800-273-8255) as well as prevention and crisis resources.
- RemedyLive: Free suicide prevention chat center geared toward teens and available all day, every day. They offer direct support to students who are struggling with mental health challenges or considering an act of suicide.
- The Trevor Project: Free, confidential support via phone (1-866-488-7386), text (text START to 678-678), or online chat with trained counselors who understand the challenges faced by young LGBTQ individuals.
We launched Gaggle Therapy in 2020 to help school districts address the challenge of access to mental health resources. For years, Gaggle has been helping K-12 school districts prevent tragedies by identifying students in crisis. With our teletherapy solution, Gaggle is helping to address the crisis head-on by partnering schools with mental health professionals who stand ready to support struggling students. If your school district is looking to provide additional mental health services for students, contact us to learn more about how Gaggle Therapy can help through ongoing teletherapy sessions.