Graduation parties and year-end celebrations for the class of 2018 were dampened by deadly shootings in the final days of school – one in a Texas middle school followed days later by another in Indiana. This, all while the Parkland school shooting was still fresh in our minds and hearts. All three shooters were students of the schools targeted – a sobering reminder of the importance of students’ mentaland emotional well-being.
Sadly, our children are more at risk than ever. At risk of being bullied – in person or in cyberspace. At risk of suicide. At risk of being exposed to deadly opioids. Now, seemingly more than ever, when they walk onto a school campus.
With 50 percent of all lifetime cases of mental illness beginning by age 14, the time is now to intervene to help our youth grow healthy minds and learn effective coping strategies.
As kids head back to school this month, David Lawrence Center, Collier County’s leading mental health and addiction treatment center, is encouraging the community to join the #StandUp campaign designed to keep kids healthy and safe.
The goal of the campaign is to bring attention to the issues of mental and emotional health so we can intervene earlier and better ensure our kids, and our community are healthy, well and safe.
Locally, there are 46,000 youths who have a mental illness– that represents 20 percent of our youth who need help. Yet currently, it takes eight to 10 years from the onset of symptoms to the time of intervention.
Suicide, homicide and deaths induced by drugs and alcohol are now the leading causes of death among children and young adults ages 15 to 24. The #StandUp campaign seeks to prevent this unnecessary suffering and risk of death.
The #StandUp movement is about education, raising awareness, decreasing stigma, developing collaborations and increasing screening and follow-up care. Together, we can #StandUp to help identify troubled children at risk and ensure easy, direct access to expert counselors.
At DLC, accessing help is easy and immediate. Crisis care is available 24-7 and same day walk-in assessments are available five days a week. DLC now has two mental health liaisons working full-time in local schools, coordinating with teachers, coaches and counselors to identify kids in crisis and get them help. DLC also has a clinician who works with the Sheriff ’s Office to respond to and monitor threats that are suspected to have an underlying mental health concern.
Now heading into the 2018-2019 school year, we need all our kids, parents and neighbors to #StandUp to help those around them by showing compassion, understanding and support for mental health. By doing this, we make Collier County healthier, happier, stronger and safer—one child at a time.
Visit www.StandUpDLC.org to join the movement and learn how to help shine light on mental health and addiction issues that affect us all. To seek help for yourself, friend or fellow community member, call 239.455.8500 or visit www.DavidLawrenceCenter.org.
stronger and safer—one child at a time.