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December 1, 2022, 9:42 PM EST

IUB FINAL update: Power has been restored to residence halls, IMU and other areas. Full restoration expected soon. We continue to monitor the situation.

New minor, concentration to address student mental health

The Minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health introduces content related to the mental health needs and development of children and adolescents. It also fills a need for such programs, with this minor only the third of its kind in the country.

Undergraduate students looking to deepen their understanding of mental health in children and youth can now study a new minor from the IU School of Education.

The Minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health for undergraduate students introduces content related to the mental health needs and development of children and adolescents, according to Clinical Assistant Professor Heather Ormiston. It also fills a need for such programs, with this minor only the third of its kind in the country.

That need is critical: the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; 2019) estimates 1 in 5 American children between the ages of 3 and 17 years old have a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder. Within the state, the Indiana School Mental Health Initiative indicates 36% of children ages 0-17 have experienced at least one or two adverse childhood experiences, indicative of some type of childhood trauma. Tragically, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2019), Indiana ranks second in the nation for rates of child abuse and neglect. As Ormiston notes, these statistics demonstrate the crucial and indispensable need the children of Indiana have in relation to mental health.

Teachers are in a unique position to recognize and support students with mental health concerns, given the amount of time and interaction they have with students on a daily basis.

Heather Ormiston

“As a whole, the minor is geared toward youth-serving professionals: social workers, psychologists, nurses, educators and (other workers in) public health,” Ormiston said. “Individuals looking to pursue graduate degrees in psychology, mental health and social work will find the program of study exceptionally geared toward those professions. It will make them competitive applicants to graduate programs in areas such as school psychology, counseling psychology, school social work and school counseling.”

While many students enrolled in the minor are outside the IU School of Education, students who have declared education as their major can also benefit from a new 12-credit hour Concentration in Child Mental Health.

"Teachers are in a unique position to recognize and support students with mental health concerns, given the amount of time and interaction they have with students on a daily basis. Given the high prevalence rates of student mental health concerns, particularly within the state of Indiana, teachers are an important component to addressing and supporting student mental health,” Ormiston added.

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