The pressures of fitting in, being accepted, or excelling in grades/sports are typical middle and high school stressors we survived. If we know these typical stressors can compromise our ability to learn or make sound decisions, suffering from a mental health issue on top of “the norm” can derail even the most committed student. In schools, not only do we see the direct influence of mental health on success in grades K-12, but universities across the nation are introducing mental health screeners and increasing counseling staff to support overall wellness and development of our youth.
Recent commitments to mental health support can no longer be an afterthought. It is now being recognized as one of the root causes for limiting academic potential. We sadly see in schools the impact of untreated mental health needs. More than all other disabilities as a whole, students with mental illnesses are more likely to fail all subjects and be retained at their grade level.
With such a drastic impact on student success, Gainesville City Schools and the Hall County community recognized the connection between mental health and academic success, and we started planning for on-site services in 2016. These plans are now a reality as The Hub is opening in January to potentially serve students of Hall County.
The Hub, located on Gainesville High School’s campus, is a student success center that provides access to mental and behavioral health services that are increasingly in demand. We provide these services through individual and group therapy. A student, staff, or family member can request mental health services, and our team works to coordinate the best option for the student by using our community partnerships with Center Point, Avita, and others.
By embracing the significance of mental health’s influence on overall success, we are organizing resources to support students when the struggle goes beyond normal school pressures.
We look forward to results similar to a recent study that reported that providing school-based mental health counseling services led to a 50% decrease in absenteeism and a 25% decrease in tardies. Those receiving school-based services were twice as likely to stay in school, improve test scores by 11 to 17 percentile points, and increase their GPA. Undeniably, on-site mental health services can be the most influential part in a student’s academic success.
Sadly, most students in the state of Georgia report that they do not know where to go in school for mental health support. Students may recognize the need for help but have to carry that burden alone. The Hub has been the buzz around high school students and Hall County community agencies for the last six months, and we are working towards being a household name and safe-haven that our students think of first when they need help with self-care.
To learn more about The Hub and the services it offers students, visit http://hubforhall.org/