Prioritizing Mental Health : Service Provision Within Arizona 's Public Schools

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Prioritizing Mental Health: Service Provision in Arizona’s Public Schools
The transition from childhood to adolescents introduces several challenges to youths’ socio-emotional, relational, and mental health. Ranging from poor self-esteem, to friendship and family friction, to depression and anxiety, all of these challenges constitute a significant need for psychosocial and emotional support. Failure to provide such support has been associated with physical and behavioral co-morbidities that affect health and wellbeing across the life course. The purpose of this paper is to expose the current public health crisis surrounding the lack of mental health services available to students in Arizona’s public schools.
After providing a general
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Mental health, like physical health, is not merely the absence of disease or mental disorder. Rather, mental health encompasses emotional, psychological and social well-being, ensuring that individuals are capable of: navigating life’s complexities, developing fulfilling relationships, adapting to change, using healthy coping mechanisms, and achieving their potential (CDC, 2013; Osius & Rosenthal, 2009).
Mental Health in Children and Adolescents
The provision of mental health support for children and adolescents is imperative for their healthy psychosocial, emotional, and physical development. Approximately 5-9% of all school-aged children and 10-20% of all adolescents have mental health problems (Kotch, 2013; American Academy of Pediatrics, 2015). Prevalence of disease does not vary significantly across race or ethnicity, however an association does exist between poor mental health and low-income communities (Oisus & Rosenthal, 2009). The transition from childhood to adolescence marks a stage in development wherein one might expect to see higher rates of mental health issues, especially in the forms of anxiety and depression (Hill & Lynch, 1983; Osius & Rosenthal, 2009). During this period, youth are gaining autonomy and trying to determine who they are and how they fit into their social realities; while their bodies and brains simultaneously undergo extensive development and their social
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