Case Studies

Elevate Mental Health

  • Build Equitable and Inclusive Schools
  • Data-Driven School Culture Improvement
  • Empower Student Voice and Agency
Portrait of teenage girl sharing feelings in support group circle for children

In a suburban Oregon public school district serving 6,500 students across 10 schools, the concern for youth mental health was paramount. Oregon’s above-average teen suicide rate underscored the urgency. To address these challenges, the district integrated YouthTruth’s Emotional and Mental Health additional topic into their surveys.

In their inaugural year with YouthTruth, alarming trends emerged. Students expressed discomfort about accessing support during tough times, highlighting a critical need for enhanced mental health services. Specifically, their ratings on questions like “Is there an adult in school I can talk to when I’m upset?” and “Does the school offer programs or services for students facing emotional challenges?” were distressingly low. High school responses averaged at 2.87 out of 5, indicating a significant deficit in perceived support.

This data spurred decisive action. Collaborating with the board, the district realigned its budget priorities. They doubled their specialized mental health counselor team, increasing from two to four professionals. This strategic move aimed to create a more supportive environment for students grappling with emotional stressors.

The impact was profound. In the following year’s YouthTruth surveys, both high schools demonstrated remarkable improvements in students’ perceptions of mental health programs and services. One high school, in particular, surged by nine points, reaching a positive response rate of 38%, just shy of the national average for high schools (40%) and surpassing Oregon’s typical rate (34%).