Transforming Child and Adolescent Mental Health, a presentation by Dr. Mark Weist

On Friday April 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm, Carolina Network's Dr. Mark Weist will be giving a talk on child and adolescent mental health. This will take place at Appalachian State University in the Belk Library and Information Commons, in room 114.

According to Dr. Mark D. Weist, “Child and adolescent mental health is the most significant unmet health need in the United States, with around one in five youth presenting more challenging emotional/behavioral problems and only a small percentage of these youth receiving effective services.”

His presentation will review problems in child and adolescent mental health and innovative strategies to promote and improve youth mental health, with an emphasis on the role of schools in this work. Improving and expanding effective school mental health programs is increasingly recognized as a critically important societal agenda related to their role in reducing academic and non-academic barriers to learning, improving student behavior and school adjustment, and promoting academic achievement and life success.

We invite all to attend!

More information can be found here.


ASC Center meets students’ mental health needs

Another article focusing on the Appalachian State University's Assessment, Support, and Counseling (ASC) Center in Ashe County High School of West Jefferson, North Carolina:

At a time when over 20 percent of Ashe County High School freshmen report having suicidal thoughts, and the words “mental health” are heard daily in public discourse, a group of Appalachian State University faculty and graduate students are serving ACHS’s student body with free, on-site, on-demand mental health services.

“We are heavily involved,” said Cameron Massey, a clinician at ASC. “I’m impressed with how they’ve accepted us.”

The Ashe County Assessment, Support and Counseling (ASC) Center currently has a caseload of 34 students it sees once a week. Since the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, the ASC has seen over 80 students — about eight percent of the student body.

The center deals with a broad range of emotional and behavioral problems. “We’re seeing a lot of PTSD…about 30 percent are depressed. They come for anger management, eating disorders,” said graduate clinician Rafaelle Sale.

Since August, the center has logged 43 hours of crisis intervention, a process involving students, parents, teachers, counselors, administrators and representatives from Daymark, which is now made possible in-house by the center.

But students also come in for regular sessions as part of continuing treatment. Appointments are scheduled during different periods each week, so students don’t miss more instruction in any one class, Sale said.

See the full article here.


SC mulling more mental health counselors in schools

COLUMBIA S.C. — House budget writers want to know the cost of putting mental health counselors in every public school.

The question came up when state Department of Mental Health director John Magill presented his agency’s budget request to a panel of House budget writers Wednesday.

Magill told the committee that with more money, he “would make sure there is at least some presence” of school-based mental health services “in every school district.”

State Rep. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, chairman of the subcommittee, said Thursday the budget panel is exploring ways to expand mental-health services, and school-based services are a “viable option.”

Having mental-health professionals in schools could allow them to detect “early-warning” signs of mental-health issues in children, Smith said. “We feel like we’re probably on the front line of it if we can get into schools and identify problems early.”

The scope of mental-health services nationally has become a point of debate since a gunman entered a school in Newtown, Conn., and slaughtered 20 children in December.

Last Monday, advocates for expanding mental-health services statewide called for action from the State House steps during the annual King Day at the Dome celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. More money for Mental Health would allow that agency to provide more preventive services in addition to crisis intervention, advocates say.

Read more here:

See the full article here.

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New online tool will help detect depression among SC college students

Last week, USC suicide prevention services coordinator Jennifer Myers issued an email invitation to 873 USC sophomores urging them to take part in an interactive screening test designed to detect heightened levels of stress, depression or suicidal thoughts.

“We know that college can be a challenging and at times stressful time. Your mental health and well-being are important to us,” the email blast from Toby R. Lovell, assistant director of community-based services for USC’s Counseling & Human Development Center, read.

Within 24 hours, 40 students had signed up to take the USC Stress and Depression Questionnaire, an interactive tool that allows the student to answer questions anonymously, then engage in dialogue with a USC counselor via email, Myers said.

Also within 24 hours, 10 of those students scheduled appointments to meet face-to-face with therapists and counselors to talk about their problems.

“The tool is incredibly helpful for us at the university,” Myers said. “About two to four students a week use it, which I know doesn’t sound like many, but these students tend to be struggling with significant mental health issues and are at higher risk of suicide.”

Read more here:

See the full article here.

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BOC discusses county’s mental health

The ASC Center of Ashe County High School met with the board of education on February 4 to report the effectiveness of our school mental health model. The local news reported the event, which can be read below.

Dr. Kurt Michael presenting at the BOE meetingDuring the BOC meeting on Monday, Feb. 4, representatives from the Ashe County Assessment, Support, and Counseling (ASC) Center addressed the topic of mental health and suicide prevention in the high school.

The ASC Center is an interdisciplinary school mental health partnership between Appalachian State University and Ashe County High School. The ASC Center uses counselors to address students’ mental health-related barriers to learning at no cost to the students or their families.

"It is our intention to continue serving these young people," said Dr. Kurt Michael, the ASC Center’s project director. "Treatment is based on need, not the ability to pay for services."

Since the ASC Center began it’s work at ACHS in the spring of 2012, the group has evaluated, treated, consulted with, or referred over 80 Ashe County students, representing at least eight percent of the student body.

"Although the evaluation of services delivered to Ashe County students this year is not yet complete, the preliminary findings from the primary outcome measure indicate that the majority of students served thus far are reporting clinically significant improvements in their symptom," read information from the ASC Center.

See the full article here.

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