988 suicide and crisis lifeline

The National 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline went into effect Mid-July 2022. This number can be used to assist individuals experiencing any mental or behavioral health crisis including suicide, substance use, and mental health.

  • More information on 988 in Missouri.
  • For information on treatment referrals contact the SAMHSA National help-line at 1-800-662-HELP or click here.

Mental Health Prevention & Promotion

Common mental health concerns for children and adolescents

At least one in five youth aged 9–17 years currently has a diagnosable mental health disorder that causes some degree of impairment; one in 10 has a disorder that causes significant impairment. The most common mental illnesses in adolescents are anxiety, mood, attention, and behavior disorders.

Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common experiences of children and adults. The primary characteristic of anxiety is worry, which is fear that future events will have negative outcomes. Anxious children are much more likely than their peers to see minor events as potentially threatening. For more information click here.

Mood Disorders

Mental health problems ranging from depression to bipolar disorder are known as mood disorders, or affective disorders. In any of these disorders, a serious change in mood shapes your child’s emotional state. Unlike a normal bad mood a child feels occasionally, a mood disorder involves thoughts and feelings that are intense, difficult to manage, and persistent. For more information click here.

Attention Disorders (most commonly ADHD)

Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience more obstacles in their path to success than the average student. The symptoms of ADHD, such as inability to pay attention, difficulty sitting still, and difficulty controlling impulses, can make it hard for children with this diagnosis to do well in school. For more information click here.

Behavior Disorders

Behavioral disorders, also known as conduct disorders, are one of the most common forms of disability among children and young adults and is the most frequently cited reason for referral to mental health services. For more information click here.

Suicide

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents and teens. If a student expresses suicidal thoughts or concerns to you, remember to remain calm. Listen, don’t judge, don’t accuse, and assure them that there IS help. If you believe a student is suicidal and in crisis, they can get help via the 988 Crisis Lifeline.

988 suicide and crisis lifeline

Missouri Hotlines

Substance Use

Some sobering statistics about substance use in adolescents:

Trauma and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

The impacts of trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences on the learning experience cannot be understated. Trauma is defined as an emotional response to a deeply distressing and/or terrible event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope. ACEs are significant childhood traumas which can result in actual changes in brain development. These changes may affect a child’s learning ability, social skills, and can result in long-term health problems. In Missouri, many schools participate in the Missouri Trauma-Informed Schools Initiative in an effort to better respond to the needs of students. An appropriate response can be as simple as remembering the guiding principles of the trauma-informed response:

Resilience

The best defense against the impacts of trauma, like disasters and ACEs, is RESILIENCE. Resilience is the ability to adjust and “bounce back” from adversity. Resilience can be cultivated in children and adolescents. Building connections and relationships with students is an excellent way to help grow students’ resilience.

Grief

Every human, at some point or another, will likely experience loss and, therefore, grief. Though we hate to think about it, it is likely at some point we will have students who are bereaved. Remember, grief can look like: decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, social withdrawal, and even anger.

Disaster Response

Self-care

Self-care is not selfish! Self-care is essential for defending against compassion fatigue and burn-out, especially in the helping professions.

Other Social Concerns

Child abuse and neglect

  • Emergency cases of abuse (the child is in imminent danger) should be reported to the Child Abuse and Neglect (CA/N) Hotline at: 1-800-392-3738. Non-emergency reports can be made via the web-reporting system.

    Information needed when reporting suspected child abuse and neglect:
    • Child’s name and address
    • Parent/guardian/caregiver name and address
    • Child’s age, sex, and race
    • Nature of the injuries
    • Source of the report
    • Name and address of alleged perpetrator if known
    • Family composition
    • Name, occupation, and contact information of the reporter

Human trafficking

Homelessness/housing security

  • In 2019 there were about 1,350 homeless individuals under the age of 18 in the state of Missouri. For more information on supporting youth experiencing homelessness, click here.

Food security

More General Mental Health Resources