Palo Alto Students Report Better Mental Health
Article from Palo Alto Weekly
By: Chris Kenrick
Palo Alto youth are emotionally healthier than they were two years ago, according to newly released data from the California Healthy Kids Survey.
The percentage of ninth- and 11th-graders who said they had seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months dropped from 18 percent to 11 percent. Percentages also dropped for ninth- and 11th-graders who reported feeling “so sad and hopeless” for at least two weeks that they stopped doing some of their usual activities.
The survey, given statewide every two years, measures risk and resiliency factors for seventh-, ninth- and 11th-graders.
“Some of the measures that we as a community have been most focused on, like suicide ideation and student depression, are heading in the right direction,” Superintendent Kevin Skelly said Thursday.
However, “the data also supports the need for continued, concerted efforts across the PAUSD community to address student health and wellness needs,” school district staff members said in a report.
In the survey, Palo Alto students report higher resiliency and less engagement in high-risk behavior compared to students across Santa Clara County and “comparable schools.”
Substance Abuse Is Still a Concern
But local school officials expressed concern about reported levels of substance abuse.
Among 11th-graders, 29 percent reported using alcohol and 19 percent reported using marijuana in the last 30 days. Sixteen percent reported binge drinking in the last 30 days.
The Healthy Kids Survey, taken voluntarily and anonymously, garnered participation by 74 percent of seventh-graders, 87 percent of ninth-graders and 82 percent of 11th-graders.
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Adolescent Counseling Services
ACS offers mental health services to teens and families through our three core programs:
On-Campus Counseling Program provides on-site individual, group and family counseling at no cost to secondary school students in the Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. The program also includes bilingual counseling and education for Latino families.
The After-School Counseling Program provides affordable out-patient assessment, treament and education for teens and their families in and around the greater Silicon Valley community.
The Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Program provides professional assessment and intensive outpatient treatment to teens struggling with drug and/or alcohol abuse, as well as prevention education in the community.
For more information access our website acs-teens.org or call us at 650-424-0852.