Our children are in the midst of a student mental health crisis. As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to an end, let’s look ahead to a future where all students thrive.
Earlier this year, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital reported a record high volume of patients seeking mental healthcare. This surge mirrors the broader trends across the country. According to the CDC, in 2021 more than 4 in 10 students felt persistently sad or hopeless. Even worse, the mental health crisis disproportionately impacts certain communities more than others. In the same CDC report, 60% of female students reported persistent feelings of sadness. The Trevor Project’s 2023 National Survey revealed an unacceptable statistic: 41% of LGBTQ young people seriously considered suicide in the past year.
These statistics are terrifying, unacceptable, and show the urgency of the moment. More mental health support is needed. Not less.
The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Madeline Mitchell reported on the impending budget cuts faced by Cincinnati Public Schools. During recent school board meetings, many community members listed their concerns about the impact these cuts would have on mental health resources and the changing requirements for similar jobs. For context, in the 2021-2022 school year, reports show Cincinnati Public Schools employed more than 220 full-time mental health professionals. Compared with the nearly 36,000 students in CPS, that leaves the student to mental health professional ratio at roughly 1:158. As the student mental crisis continues, we cannot afford to lose any of our students’ support staff.
The good news is that there are many opportunities to affect change. The Kids Deserve Safe Schools Coalition is a group of parents, teachers, students, community members, and local organizations committed to creating an environment where all students thrive. One of our coalition’s main goals is to increase mental health resources in CPS in order to ensure that our students are supported as they navigate this phase of their lives. We are working to urge the Cincinnati School Board to prioritize these resources in the upcoming budget.
Let’s work together to make that a reality in Cincinnati Public Schools. Sign the petition and join our coalition today. Together, we can create an environment where all students thrive.