Making Mental Health Part of the School Safety Solution

As the country continues to respond to the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., there is an urgent need to broaden the public conversation from a focus on gun control and arming teachers to the equally important issue of untreated mental illness in young people.

I have no intention of minimizing the loss of 20 innocent children and six educators, but I believe that this unspeakable tragedy offers an opportunity to turn national attention to the need for "mental-health literacy" and expanded mental-health services in schools.

I challenge others to remember that the gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Adam Lanza, was once an innocent elementary school student himself. How might his life have unfolded differently if he had received high-quality services, treatment, and supports for his behavioral needs throughout childhood and adolescence? Is it possible that the shootings could have been prevented?

We will never know the answers, but we can consider an additional, essential question: How can schools help the underserved and often invisible population of youths who struggle with mental-health disorders and promote mental health, wellness, and safety for all students at the same time?

See the full article here.


After Shootings, States Rethink Mental Health Cuts

In the wake of the multiple shootings of 2012, the CNSMH has been attentive to the political/social responses. Among the variety of responses, there has been increased discussion about providing greater funding and care for those with mental illnesses:

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Dozens of states have slashed spending on mental health care over the last four years, driven by the recession's toll on revenue and, in some cases, a new zeal to shrink government.

But that trend may be heading for a U-turn in 2013 after last year's shooting rampages by two mentally disturbed gunmen.

The reversal is especially jarring in statehouses dominated by conservative Republicans, who aggressively cut welfare programs but now find themselves caught in a crosscurrent of pressures involving gun control, public safety and health care for millions of disadvantaged Americans

 See the full article here.


Notes from January 2013 Meeting

We have some files relevant to the recent January 2013 CNSMH meeting in Greensboro. Please click the following links to access these files:


August 2013 CNSMH Meeting

We are currently in the process of planning our next Carolina Network meeting. The main details we have sorted is that this meeting will take place at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC on August 16, 2013.

Information regarding the tentative schedule of the meeting can be accessed here.

As the meeting is not until the fall of 2013, we are still a bit early in the planning stages. We ask for your patience as we determine the final details, and we will provide updates regarding local hotels and other relevant information as soon as possible. Please contact us if you have any questions or other input!


Does Appalachian culture increase suicide risk?

Does the culture in the Appalachian Mountains lead to higher rates of suicide?

According to Dr. Lisa Curtin from Appalachian State University’s Department of Psychology, the answer is “yes,” as she shared the results of a study on suicide and depression in the high county with the Ashe Suicide/Depression Prevention Awareness (ASAP) task force on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

“Overall, each participant showed the symptoms that are normally associated with depression,” said Curtain. However, Curtin also said some unique aspects of the area like social isolation contribute to higher rates of suicide.

She also prefaced her presentation by acknowledging rural areas with low-income families tend to have an above average suicide rate.

See the full article here.

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