According to the Office of Adolescent Health (2016), in 2015, 26% of Rhode Island high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless which is defined by the Youth Risk Behavior System (YRSB) as “felt sad or hopeless almost every day for 2 or more weeks in a row so that they stopped doing some usual activities during the 12 months before the survey.” They also report that 13% of Rhode Island high school students reported having had at least one major depressive episode, and 11% reported attempting suicide one or more times in the 12 months prior to the survey. This last statistic is above the national reporting rate (9% of high school students). According to the NCCP, suicide is the leading cause of death in adolescents (2009).
These statistics inspire concern for the fate of young students, and it is expected that teens who are prepared, feel supported in their changes (emotionally, physically, and socially) as they enter into puberty and the developmental stage in which they grapple with and develop their self-identity and self-concept, they can use positive coping mechanisms through this tough time. Therefore, I and a colleague developed a long-range action plan for school and public libraries to host a year-long “early intervention” for middle school youth. You’ll find a full program description here along with a video below which describes the program in just a few minutes!