News Article: Washington students are facing a mental health crisis. Here’s why schools are on the front lines - The Seattle Times

April 5, 2021

The Seattle Times published an article on April 4, 2021, Washington students are facing a mental health crisis. Here’s why schools are on the front lines. 

Statistics Shared:

  • Seattle Children’s hospital reports 1-2 children admitted each night for attempted suicide and the emergency department sees 170 children and adolescents for psychiatric emergencies – an increase from 50 per week before the pandemic. 
  • Nationwide mental health related emergency visits are up by 31% for 12-17 year olds during the pandemic. 
  • Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma reports the admission rate for mental health concerns increased 67% from March 2020 to February 2021. 
  • Ratio’s for school psychologists in Washington are just 1 per every 1,000 students. 

In 2020, Washington came in at No. 43 on a national youth mental health ranking from Mental Health America

The UW SMART Center houses the School Mental Health Supplement to the Northwest MHTTC. The UW SMART Center co-directors are quoted in the article. Links to Northwest MHTTC resources are also shared. 


“We have decades and decades of research showing the things that can be effective in schools,” said Aaron Lyon, co-director of the University of Washington’s SMART Center, which studies school-based mental health. “The extent to which that has been codified in legislation or paid for or funded is much more limited.” 

Getting teachers and paraeducators involved “reduces the time for us to wait for a mental health professional to go in,” said Jill Locke, co-director of UW’s SMART Center. 


Citation: Furfaro, H. (2021, April 2). Washington students are facing a mental health Crisis. Here's why schools are on the front lines.

Access the full article here to read more about the rising mental health concerns of students and the critical role schools play in children’s mental health.  

Want more information and school mental health resources? Visit the Northwest MHTTC's School Mental Health page and sign up for our monthly newsletter for regular updates about events, trainings, and resources available to the Northwest region.

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