Mental health monitoring, access to treatment must begin in schools

Statistics from the National Alliance for Mental Health are evidence of the importance of implementing psychologists within schools and obtaining more psychologists working in the juvenile justice system, PM's Prince George's intern shows. Without their help, many children and teens are susceptible to mental illness. We can reverse this detrimental trend by taking action and offering them access to therapy from certified mental health professionals.


 

/By Anuoluwapo Adepegba/ Hello, I am Anuoluwapo Adepegba, the new Prince George’s County intern for Progressive Maryland. I am currently a junior in high school, which enables me to understand the struggles that many students face. I will represent the interests of students across Maryland while centering much of my advocacy on those in Prince George’s County.

My initiative is to shed light on the importance of mental health, especially among the youth within minority communities. I have begun making strides to educate myself on mental health through my involvement in a walk for Suicide Prevention and my internship at Green Door Mental Health Clinic. Through my partnership with Progressive Maryland, I will educate other people on this topic and implement various tactics to address this issue.

The following statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) illustrate the need:

1. “50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14.”

2. “Approximately 50% of students age 14 and older with a mental illness drop out of high school.”

3. “70% of youth in state and local juvenile justice systems have a mental illness.”

4. “90% of those (children and teens) who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness.”

These statistics act as evidence of the importance of implementing psychologists within schools and obtaining more psychologists working in the juvenile justice system. Without their help, many children and teens are susceptible to mental illness, which can influence them to commit suicide. We can reverse this detrimental trend by taking action and offering them access to therapy from certified mental health professionals.

In order to ensure the success of Prince George’s County, it is imperative that our community is united. It is our duty as residents of Prince George’s County to hold elected officials accountable and to communicate our needs. I plan on pursuing a career as a child psychiatrist and improving the lives of many young people in our society. Until then, I can make an impact now by carrying out my civic duty: to seek elected officials that acknowledge our right to mental stability, while other aspects of Progressive Maryland are working towards addressing different issues. We must come together to ensure that our youth is mentally healthy in order to secure their futures!