The board of directors for The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a group consisting of a bipartisan group of both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature and other government and educational leaders, held a hearing Wednesday on youth mental health and Pennsylvania rural schools, highlighting some of the challenges of the growing mental health crisis among kids.
In the latest Pennsylvania Youth Survey, more than 40 percent of students reported feeling sad or depressed on most days, nearly 20 percent of students said they seriously considered suicide and 10.9 percent said they actually attempted suicide at least once within the past year.
While more money is becoming available to help combat it to help with things like more counselors and improved social services, having mental health experts in every school isn’t likely feasible.
This is why some of the conversations were tried and tested methods like improving home lives and improving relationships between teachers and students.
Brookville Area School District superintendent Dr. Erich May said more needs to be done to get teachers and kids away from the decades-long prevalence on standardized testing.
“To some extent, this whole thing is a pendulum swinging back from decades of reforms routed in standards and accountability measures where it was all about getting these kids proficient,” may said. “Before we can worry about them being proficient, we need them to be healthy.
“Part of the importance of the school musical and the wrestling team is because it provides the context and the time for adults to make meaningful relationships with kids,”