Mental Health in Middle School
The middle school transition can be tough for many students. Increased academic pressure, independence, and expectations are coupled with newly complex peer and family relationships as adolescents mature at a rapid pace. Symptoms of depression and anxiety are increasingly common in middle school. In fact, more than 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14.
Many middle school students are burdened by emotional challenges and mental health concerns, which often make focusing on academics very challenging. Schools play a critical role in identifying and supporting students with mental health conditions. Common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety are treatable. With effective treatment, most students learn to manage their symptoms and go on to thrive academically and socially.
Designed for students in grades 6-8, the evidence-based Signs of Suicide (SOS) program for middle schools teaches students how to identify the signs of depression and suicide in themselves and their peers. It reduces stigma around mental health and suicide, and encourages help-seeking behaviors through the ACT technique (Acknowledge, Care, Tell). The Signs of Suicide program has shown a 64% reduction in self-reported suicide attempts.
Suicide Prevention in Middle School
Without mental health education, adolescent depression and anxiety often remain hidden: warning signs go unnoticed and students struggle in silence. These common mental health struggles are leading risk factors for youth suicide, making early detection and treatment critically important. Evidence-based suicide prevention is safe and effective for all students in 6th through 8th grades. School counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and teachers are working together to reduce mental health stigma and prevent youth suicide in middle schools across the country.