Young people with serious emotional problems receiving comprehensive,
individualized mental health services in conjunction with schools and other
community-based organizations experienced a reduction in psychiatric symptoms
and an improvement in academic achievement, according to a new report from the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The report, "Working Together to Help Youth Thrive in Schools and
Communities," was issued in May in conjunction with National Children's
Mental Health Day and describes the impact that these comprehensive mental
health services—also known as systems of care—have on young people
with serious emotional problems.
The report found that these improvements occurred for many youth within a
year of their enrollment in these
According to the report, on average 11 percent of youth with mental health
problems aged 14 to 18 fail to reach the next grade level, but among those
involved in systems of care, only 8 percent repeated a grade.
The report also revealed that youth involved in systems of care programs
for a year or more reported a 62 percent decrease in suicide attempts, and 16
percent reported lower levels of depression. Slightly more than 20 percent
reported reduced levels of anxiety than when they began receiving
Data included in the analyses for this report represent up to 827 youth
aged 14 to 18 who were assessed at intake, at six months, and at 12 months and
who entered services from 2003 to 2008.
"Improving the outlook for children with mental health challenges is
a critical part of improving our health and educational systems," said
Eric Broderick, D.D.S., M.P.H., acting administrator of SAMHSA, in a press
release. "These data show that systems of care can be an effective means
of revitalizing the lives of young people and reducing long-term costly
consequences of inaction."
The systems of care described in the report are designed to promote
positive mental health outcomes for youth with mental health problems and
their families together with schools and other community-based organizations.
According to the report, about 65 percent of the young people assessed
received at least some type of mental health treatment in school.
Comprehensive mental health service plans designed for youth are highly
individualized and culturally competent, according to the report.
"Working Together to Help Youth Thrive in Schools and
Communities" is posted at<www.samhsa.gov/children/docs/shortReport.pdf>.▪