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Treating Mental Illness with a People-First Focus

May 18, 2015

With the advent of social media and digital connectivity, there are exponentially more factors influencing the mental and emotional health of children, teens and young adults today than ever before, making the mental health of our next generation a top community health focus.

A report by the British Health and Social Care Information Center indicates that “one in ten children and young people, aged between five and 16 years old, suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder.” Studies in the US have shown that this number could be as high as 1 in 5 when adding in the adult population.

Meet Sachelle, Jessica and Eric. These are the faces of positive outcomes in adolescent mental health.
Meet Sachelle, Jessica and Eric. These are the faces of positive outcomes in adolescent mental health.

There is no shortage of information on the difficulties associated with living a healthy and productive life as a person with mental illness. That’s why United Way of Northeast Florida’s Full Service Schools embraces a “people-first” culture when it comes to talking about and treating mental illness.

In our experience, it hasn’t been about treating depression, anxiety, anger, or behavioral issues. Instead, it’s about helping Jessica become a nurse and Phoenix perform better in school. We’ve focused more on connecting successful students like Sachelle with a caring and qualified therapist like Tyra to help improve her overall quality of life.

As a long-standing school-community collaborative, Full Service Schools provides mental and behavioral therapy to over 1,000 students annually. Students often report having been to numerous therapists before finding a special sense of comfort and support from those at Full Service Schools.

Recognizing the long-term impact of undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues, United Way provides these services to not only help students complete their education, but also provide the opportunity for long-term financial stability and overall wellbeing.

With the support of school faculty, parents, local residents, business people and other community stakeholders, these preventative measures help ensure that we can advance the common good for our community as a whole.