Mental Health in Schools

A weeklong series about youth access to mental health services in Idaho schools, funded by a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network. Over the series, Idaho Education News explores the ways some Idaho districts are helping students manage mental health and get connected to services, as well as the challenges COVID-19 posed for Idaho’s school-based mental health efforts.

Idaho’s approach to school mental health was already scattered. Then COVID hit.

States across the country have put increased focus on mental health in schools for several years. Momentum is building in Idaho, but the state lacks a cohesive plan to ensure services from district to district.

Given a second chance at life, Idaho teen vows to help others

Calvin Loffer tried to take his own life. He’s grateful to be alive and be able to share his message: Mental health challenges can impact anyone.

Nampa’s in-school therapy partnerships lead to measurable success

In-school therapy is an increasingly popular mental health support in Idaho schools. Nampa's partnerships offer a glimpse into the strengths and challenges of that model.

Cassia ‘Connect’ program aims to give every student access to immediate help

A student just has to call a phone number where they can receive immediate crisis counseling, and set up an appointment with a local mental health professional.

Lapwai addresses mental health by understanding a child’s personal story and culture

The district's approach to behavioral health includes focusing on teaching positive behavior expectations, partnering with agencies for on-site therapy, training staff on trauma and incorporating Nez Perce culture at every turn.

‘Normal teenage moodiness’ or suicide warning sign? Idaho parents share son’s story

Chris and Roberta Garvin noticed changes in Nick, but he kept his pain hidden.

Idaho’s student-to-counselor ratio far exceeds recommended average

But there are ways to support school counselors and minimize their workload.