Grading DC, Maryland and Virginia schools on mental health support

When it comes to supporting the mental health of students, some states are doing a much better job than others.

That’s according to a first-of-its-kind America’s School Mental Health Report Card, put together by The Hopeful Futures Campaign – a coalition of national organizations working to promote mental health support in America’s schools.

"Overall the good news is that the DMV is actually doing quite well in terms of our overall school mental health systems, but there are some relative areas of strength and weakness," explained National Center for School Mental Health Co-Director Dr. Sharon Hoover, who is also a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

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The report goes state-by-state examining policies that support mental health. So, for instance, researchers found that only D.C. and Idaho exceed the nationally recommended ratio of one school psychologist for every 500 students. Meanwhile, six states – including Virginia – have only one school psychologist for well over 4,000 students.

Maryland came out on top in the region, ranking 5th overall. That’s partially because the report found the state is particularly good at building school-family-community partnerships as well as mental health education.

The District finished 10th, while Virginia came in at 15th.

"We know that ultimately if we don’t provide the mental health supports to our young people we will lose lives, and we’ve seen an increase in suicide thoughts and suicide completions over the course of COVID in our young people. So this is a dire concern and this is one way that we as a nation can help protect our young people."

To read the full report, you can click here.