Well-Being Mental Health

Educators and parents express concerns about school mental health services in new national poll

Sixty percent of administrators say the youth mental health crisis is the same or worse than last year.
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Story at a glance

  • Most educators and parents in a new poll say that there is a growing youth mental health crisis.

  • Eighty percent of parents believe schools should support students’ mental health. 

  • Among the barriers to providing mental health support respondents expressed concern about are staffing shortages and lack of funding. 

Educators and parents surveyed in a new national poll focused on school mental health services expressed concern that the U.S. is in the midst of a growing youth mental health crisis — and that schools may not be prepared to deal with it.

Ninety percent of school administrators and 60 percent of parents said they believe there is such a crisis, according to the poll conducted by Effective School Solutions (ESS). Sixty percent of administrators say the youth mental health crisis is the same or worse than last year. 

“Our first-of-its-kind polling reveals that administrators and parents see a significant, long-term problem with the mental health of young people that must be solved,” says Duncan Young, CEO of ESS, in a press release

“Schools are positioned to play a powerful role in bolstering the mental health continuum supporting this population,” he added. 

Among parents surveyed, 80 percent think that schools should have a role in supporting students’ mental health. But the poll found some discrepancies between that figure and respondents’ level of confidence in their schools’ ability to meet that need. Only 16 percent of parents and 40 percent of administrators said they have high confidence.

About 75 percent of administrators said they were implementing best practices, but only about 45 percent of parents would agree, according to the poll results. 

“These findings represent what I’m seeing in our schools,” says Jacqueline Coe, superintendent of the SAU 24 School District in New Hampshire, in a press release. “We need innovative, holistic solutions to address this growing crisis, and give our schools and students the clinical mental health resources they deserve.” 

Nearly half of parents and educators said they were concerned staffing shortages could have a negative impact on schools’ ability to deal with the crisis. The poll also asked about funding for mental health services, in response to which 56 percent of administrators said they did not have enough information or weren’t aware of funding resources. 

“We are partnering with school districts across the country to help districts strengthen mental health supports to reach every student in need, and to support the educators serving them,” says Young in the press release.

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