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The Current Youth Mental Health Crisis


 by Holly Koons, Behavior Coach


As the psychologist Noam Shpancer said, "Mental health is not a destination, but a process." A pivotal part of the mental health process includes intervention services. The earlier these services are initiated, the better the outcome for the individual receiving them. School-based interventions are a proactive way to confront and resolve the trauma and stressors associated with declining mental health before these issues exacerbate. Folium, Inc addresses these concerns in many different facets in the public school system.

            Forbes recently reported that among adults aged 18-25, the incidence of mental illness is as high as 36.2% (Forbes, 2024). However, these mental health issues do not begin during the age-range of this statistic. Instead, the roots of poor mental health in emerging adulthood often are based in childhood and adolescence. Further, research from 2020 has found that mental disorder tends to be most prevalent during childhood and adolescence, with as many as 20% of individuals experiencing clinically significant mental health symptoms prior to the age of 25, and half of whom have symptoms by age 14 (Colizzi et al., 2020). To address this, integrating knowledgeable professionals into consistent learning environments with children and adolescents can increase the likelihood that these students build a solid foundation that supports positive mental health. Thus, there are several methods and programs used to improve the mental health status of the population that we serve, students from Elementary to Secondary level.

            As Mental Health America (n.d.) notes, childhood is the period when individuals discover their sense of self, their capacity for relationships, and their perceptions of others and their ideas. It is a time of significant and near constant change, which can be greatly impactful on a child’s mental health. In response, outpatient and school-based therapeutic services are designed to be uniquely beneficial in confronting concerns in the mental well-being of the students. As the researcher García-Carrión and colleagues (2019) found, symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as disruptive behaviors, appear to decrease following mental health interventions in children. Simultaneously, factors such as general well-being and positive social skills appear to increase following those same interventions. Thus, through consistent use of skills learned in school-based programming, significant decreases in negative behaviors and mental health issues for our students is possible.

Further, these services can also be used to improve the dynamics of the family systems for when these students are not in the remedial environments of our school-based programming. Assisting in building foundations at home and creating bridges from home to school is important in solidifying long-term results. Connecting the efforts of our school-based staff with the support system the students have at home helps bring consistency and continuity to the progress that our students have within our programs. Bridging the gap between our students’ experiences at school and home can be done with detailed intervention plans and effective communication between staff and the familial support systems.

The effects of the recent pandemic on social and emotional growth, and the lack of resources to combat said effects, has heavily influenced our students in a negative way. Grades and academic participation have dropped during this time, and educators have seen truancy and maladaptive behaviors increase upon return to in-school instruction. Now more than ever, the process of guiding students in the correct direction and modeling effective coping mechanisms is invaluable.

The introduction of innovative practices within our programs and the participation of consistent staff are the answer to successful outcomes for these students. Not all students will see a change within the short-term. Some students will be in our programming long-term and interact with many different staff along the way. The importance of fluid expectations and appropriate interactions by staff are vital to the success of our students. In these ways, we are making a difference.



Colizzi, M., Lasalvia, A., & Ruggeri, M. (2020). Prevention and early intervention in youth mental health: Is it time for a multidisciplinary and trans-diagnostic model for care?. International journal of mental health systems.

Forbes Magazine. (2024, February 21). Mental health statistics and facts. Forbes.

García-Carrión, R., Villarejo-Carballido, B., & Villardón-Gallego, L. (2019). Children and adolescent’s mental health: A systematic review of interaction-based interventions in schools and communities. Frontiers in psychology.

Prevention and early intervention in mental health- early childhood to puberty. Mental Health America. (n.d.).



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