Coping with crisis in Oregon schools with mental health interventionists

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Medford School District's efforts to reach out to troubled students in middle and high school is a much-needed response to a growing problem. More needs to be done — not just by school districts but by state mental health programs as well — but the schools' efforts are invaluable.

The Medford School Board allocated $200,000 last spring to hire mental health interventionists — specially trained people who meet with students needing help — for North, South and Central Medford high schools, as well as Hedrick and McLoughlin middle schools.

The need is undeniable. Jackson County mental health officials say they are seeing a dramatic increase in calls from people younger than 18 to the county's mental health crisis hotline. The frequency of calls from young people has increased from one or two calls a month to two or three a week.

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