Did you know that one in five young people will experience a significant mental health problem during their years in school? Without help, these problems can lead to bigger problems: poor school performance, conflicts with friends and families, and more serious mental health disorders such as depression, eating disorders or substance abuse problems. Fortunately, there is help and we know that providing support and information can improve quality of life and long-term outcomes.
Please see below for general information and other resources to help you, or someone you may know, that is experiencing problems.
What are some "Warning Signs?"
Someone who is currently going through a mental health problem may be...
Troubled by feeling:
- really sad and hopeless without good reason, and the feelings don’t go away;
- extremely fearful – has unexplained fears or more fears than most children;
- angry most of the time, overreacts to things;
- anxious or worried a lot more than other kids your own age.
- poor concentration;
- difficulty making decisions, sitting still or focusing;
- need to perform certain routines dozens of times a day;
- regular nightmares.
Experiencing big changes:
- does much worse in school;
- loses interest in things usually enjoyed;
- avoids friends and family;
- talks about suicide;
- hears voices that cannot be explained;
- has changes in sleeping or eating patterns.
Behaving in ways that cause problems:
- uses alcohol or other drugs;
- does things that can be life threatening;
- hurts other people;
- destroys property or breaks the law.
How to Get Help
If you or a friend experiences any of these behaviors often, you should seek help. Talk to an adult you trust. Family, teachers, and other school staff such as school social workers, school psychologists, or guidance counselors are your greatest resources when you need help. If you are not near a teacher, counselor, or other responsible adult, or if you just want someone else to talk to about your problems, call the National Youth Crisis Hotline at 1-800-442-4673 or 1-877-7WE-HELP to talk to a person at the local DC Access Helpline.
Content on this page was originally developed by the Wellness Integration for Students of Hillsborough (WISH) in Hillsborough County Public Schools and is being used with permission.
General Mental Health Information
- What Is Mental Health?
- Mental Health Information for Parents
- Mental Health Information for Educators
- DC Behavioral Health Resource Guide
National Mental Health and Wellness Resources
- Eight Dimensions of Wellness
- Suicide Prevention (SAMHSA) [PDF]
- National Association of School Psychologists
- Young People Looking for Help
- Teens and Tobacco [PDF]
- Tobacco Free
- Cope Care Deal
- RX for Teens (SAMHSA) [PDF]
- Teen Health and Wellness
- Positive Parenting Tips
- Understood (for learning and attention issues)
- Online Parenting Coach
- Emergency Preparedness
What is RTI?
School Mental Health Expansion
To ensure that all students have access to the supports they need in schools, the Mayor has launched an initiative to expand mental health services by pairing schools with community-based organizations (CBOs). The DCPS School Mental Health Team partners with these CBOs to provide additional services to students.
Other Mental Health Partners:
The School Mental Health Team also works with the DC Department of Behavioral Health, the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing and other partners to support school communities