Mental Health

Nationwide, mental health has become a topic of open conversation. As its stigma fades, mental health is now acknowledged as one of the top concerns affecting families — and particularly children — in Central Alabama.

Why Talking About Mental Health in Schools is Important:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicides among young people in Alabama between 10 and 24 years old have increased 79% per 100,000 residents since 2005. After years of stress and trauma from the pandemic, as well as social, economic and political pressure, improving access to high-quality mental health services for families is critical.

Through the United Way Bold Goals Coalition’s annual Policy Agenda, recommendations related to school-based mental health are shared with local and state leaders to promote efforts that improve coordination among partners working in this area and enhance the impact of community efforts to support mental health services for students.

Addressing mental health in our region starts with identifying the unique needs and concerns of individuals, families and children in each community. The United Way Bold Goals Coalition assists in robust region-wide surveys to pursue equitable, community-driven policy recommendations to expand school-based mental health services for students. Responses from students, families and community members help to inform recommendations for innovative solutions to support our students.

27% of students did not feel that there was an adult they could talk to at school if something was bothering them in a 2021-2022 survey.

The United Way Bold Goals Coalition is working with community partners and schools to create comprehensive systems of support for students through policy change and evidence-based strategies.

Nearly one third of youth in the U.S. struggles with a mental health or anxiety disorder.

The United Way Bold Goals Coalition has worked to train more than 600 school staff on the mental health needs of students and has supported additional counseling services within schools.

Doubling Down on Student Mental Health Services

The United Way Bold Goals Coalition is partnering with the Birmingham Coalition for Student Mental Health (BCSMH) to address student mental health disparities in Central Alabama. BCSMH was formed in late 2020 as a direct response to the growing crises in area student mental health, exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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