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Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

May 8, 2014

Discussions about the need for mental health services often revolve around the needs of adults or those with serious illnesses. Meanwhile, the less visible needs of our students can go unaddressed.

Research shows that 1 in 5 children and adolescents suffers from an untreated mental disorder, and that more than half of students that fail to graduate have a diagnosable disorder.

These students have the potential to succeed academically, but a lack of awareness and services means that the vast majority of them will go untreated. Facing mental health issues and life without a diploma, it’s easy to see how poverty and mental health become so closely intertwined.

For students in Jacksonville, the Full Service Schools partnership has been working for over 20 years to help break this cycle.

The key is “wrap-around” services–those that extend beyond what schools can do on their own. Full Service Schools staff and its network of providers in Duval County take a 360-degree look at student and family issues and work to fix them, whether that means helping to reduce the stress of an unstable home life or arranging for therapy.

Phoenix’s Story

PhoenixFor students like Phoenix, his Achievement Advocate made all the difference in helping him succeed in school.

Phoenix’s developmental delays and ADHD were a serious barrier in the classroom, as he had problems expressing himself and controlling his emotions. Full Service Schools got him into individual counseling, where he developed the skills he needed to manage his anger and communicate with others.

“We have a much happier little boy right now,” said his grandmother, Elissa.

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Many students prefer that their names and photos not be used due to the stigma surrounding their difficulties, but our advocates are making strides in their cases every day. From gifted high schoolers that aren’t achieving because of anxiety issues, to younger children that are struggling with tragic family situations, advocates equip students with the tools they need to overcome these barriers and succeed in school and life.

If you know a student that could benefit from Full Service Schools, contact your location for more information.