Washington County school officials are alarmed by the results of a 2012 substance abuse survey of 1,340 students from six county school districts, the Glens Falls Post-Star is reporting. The survey found that “nearly 21 percent of students said they were depressed on most days, 13.4 percent have considered suicide and about 7.2 percent had attempted suicide in the past 12 months before taking the survey.” The paper reports the county is exploring the possibility of district-based mental health clinics.
The survey’s not new, but this is the first time a specific question about suicide has been on it.
Other results from the survey: The top three substances that students took were alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs. There’s been a big decrease in how many kids have drunk alcohol, but 34 students said they’d driven drunk in the last 30 days; and 12 percent had been a passenger in a car driven by someone who’d been drinking. Pot use is down, but so is the age at which students are trying it. And more students are taking prescription drugs, which they’re getting from their parents or illegally from a doctor.
More on student health clinics, from the article:
School superintendents expressed interest in partnering with health officials to combat these problems. Granville Superintendent Mark Bessen said the district is looking to use available space at the district’s elementary school to house a health clinic.
The district would not charge the health provider any rent, but provide in-kind services such as utilities. Also, the district would like to be able to use the health officials as a resource.
Bessen pointed to Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown as a model. They have put clinics in the schools and attendance has shot up because students are getting their health needs addressed.
Bessen said another problem is finding trained health professionals such as psychiatrists that specialize with children.
“I think there’s two north of Saratoga. It’s not easy,” he said.
Hudson Falls Superintendent Mark Doody said he has been having some conversations with the Hudson Headwaters Health Network officials.