Nanette Bamesberger and Miti Morris, co-Presidents of Woodinville High School Parent Teacher Student Association (WHS PTSA), made public comments at the Northshore School District Board Meeting regarding the WHS PTSA’s grant made to the district to support a mental health specialist at the school. Bamesberger said the $16,000 is a donation to offset a small percentage of the cost of a mental health counselor at WHS. The School Board voted to approve accepting the donation later in the January 28 meeting.
The funds will be used to help support the salary of the mental health specialist who provides services to all the students at WHS. As outlined in the donation form, “The WHS Mental Health Specialist (MHS) provides behavioral health intervention and treatment for students that is community based, school connected, culturally competent, developmentally appropriate, and accessible to families. Through written referral protocols, the MHS establishes positive relationships and serves students identified with behavioral, social or emotional problems including loss and grief, substance abuse, withdrawal and loneliness, anxiety, anger outbursts, and/or histories of trauma. These students are provided with direct face-to-face client-based services that include individual treatment, group treatment, family treatment, staff/teacher consultation and/or care coordination as determined by the MHS.”
Focus on helping teenagers deal with mental health stresses is an ongoing issue in Washington State. In the 2016 Healthy Youth Survey, taken by tweens and teens in Washington, showed that one in five high school students seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months. During the past decade, there has been a 6 percentage point rise in 8th and 10th graders who have contemplated suicide according to the Healthy Youth Survey.