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.