CSIU Addressing Youth Mental Heath with National Grant
NEW COLUMBIA – The regional CSIU is calling it a ‘community of practice’ to address youth mental health following more troubling data for Pennsylvania students.
CSIU Chief Outreach Officer Dr. Bernadette Boerckel, “Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Youth Survey Data for 2021showed that across the state of Pennsylvania, over 40% of our region’s students felt sad or depressed most days. And sadly, almost 20% of most PA students report seriously considering suicide.”
To address this, Dr. Boerckel says the CSIU was awarded 1 of 20 national grants from the federal government, a $3.5 million SAMHSA grant across four years to serve all 17 school districts under the CSIU.
She says it would allow for a needs assessment for students, professional development for staff, and resources from Geisinger, including a Bridge Clinic, “If a student is thinking about harming themselves or another, they often end up in an emergency room, but perhaps they’re not getting the right kind of care. This bridge clinic will ensure that they do, and Geisinger is working on creating that as we speak.”
Dr. Boerckel says it’s also up to adults to talk with students about their mental health, because it’s the students who are open to that dialogue, “They really understand, they have their finger on the pulse of what it means to have positive mental health, make good choices, they know what depression and anxiety feels like, and they wanna talk about it with adults. Tough love is not gonna work for this generation. We really need to engage and figure out what resources we can provide them.”
The CSIU says there’s more information about youth mental health on their website. You can hear more on the WKOK.com Podcast Page or wherever you listen to podcasts.