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Mental Health

Even before the pandemic, many kids in Westport were struggling with their depression, anxiety, trauma, suicidal ideation. In fact according to Mental Health America (MHA) in their 2023 State of Mental Health:

  • 59.8% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment. Asian youth with major depression were least likely to receive specialty mental health care, with 78% reporting they did not receive mental health services in the past year. 

  • Nationally, only 28% of youth with severe depression receive some consistent treatment (7-25+ visits in a year).  Most (57.3%) youth with severe depression do not receive any care.

  • Nationally, 1 in 10 youth who are covered under private insurance do not have coverage for mental or emotional difficulties – totaling over 1.2 million youth.

  • Only .718 percent of students are identified with emotional disturbance for an individualized education program (IEP). IEPs, with sufficient resources for schools and teachers, are critical for ensuring that youth with disabilities can receive the individualized services, supports, and accommodations to succeed in a school setting.

According to researcher, Dr. Suniya Luthar, "American teens from upper-middle class families are more likely to have higher rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse than any other socioeconomic group of young people". 

Rock Balancing

Have You Seen Our Postcards?

This campaign was funded through  the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services Local Prevention Grant

Help kids find healthier alternatives through resources like:

What Do We Know?

You're Not Alone

  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year

  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-14

When To Get Help

  • Marked fall in school performance

  • Poor grades in school despite trying very hard

  • Severe worry or anxiety, as shown by regular refusal to go to school, go to sleep or take part in activities that are normal for the child's age

  • Frequent physical complaints

  • Marked changes in sleeping and/or eating habits

  • Extreme difficulties in concentrating that get in the way at school or at home

  • Sexual acting out

  • Depression shown by sustained, prolonged negative mood and attitude, often accompanied by poor appetite, difficulty sleeping or thoughts of death

  • Severe mood swings

  • Strong worries or anxieties that get in the way of daily life, such as at school or socializing

  • Repeated use of alcohol and/or drugs

From: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2011

What Can We Do?

Have The Conversations & Help Reduce The Stigma
Learn Some Strategies

Former Westport Human Services Social Worker, Deirdre Ekholdt, LCSW shared some breathing techniques with us to help manage stress and anxiety.


According to experts: There are many mental wellness benefits associated with being outside in green spaces, such as lower risk of depression and faster psychological stress recovery. Studies have shown that being in nature can restore and strengthen our mental capacities, increasing focus and attention.

According to the American Psychological Association, "From a stroll through a city park to a day spent hiking in the wilderness, exposure to nature has been linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and even upticks in empathy and cooperation."

Past Programs

Resources Mentioned in the Presentation

Let’s Work Together

Get in touch so we can start working together.

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