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Could Mental Health Screenings Help Prevent Teen Tragedies?

Following the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook in 2012, high school students in Newtown, Conn., will now receive mental health screenings.

By Joanna Schneider

Newtown High School students will soon take part in mental health screenings for suicide and depression, according to one concerned parent who voiced his uneasiness in a recent Letter to the Editor.

A post on Patch’s Notes for Newtown Board highlighted the letter—published in the Newtown Bee—and urged parents to opt-out.

“It is my sincere hope that the school officials will reconsider implementing this subjective, unscientific screening program in our schools,” writes the father.

More than 36 states increased their mental health-care budgets in 2013, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness

The Washington Post reported that in Colorado, where James Holmes opened fire on a crowded movie theater a little over a year ago, the mental-health budget rose by 13.5 percent.

And Connecticut isn’t the only state focused on catching mental-health issues among youth.

“Nebraska created a pilot program to set up mental-health screenings for some secondary school students. Texas instituted training for school staff to identify mental-health problems; Utah will offer a seminar on the issue for parents. And Minnesota passed bills to improve mental-health services linked to schools,” The Washington Post highlighted in a recent article.

What do you think? Should schools invest resources in mental-health screenings and should they be required? Are they a positive for our children or is it an alarming trend? Share your thoughts in the comments below, sound off on our boards or start a blog of your own!

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