Mental health support

More than half of the black students who took the ACT in 2019 and responded to questions about their perceptions of available school-based mental health support said that they did not feel supported.

Only 48 percent of the African American students who responded (out of approximately total 5,300 responses) said that they could reach out to a teacher or counselor if they needed mental health support. Of the white students who responded, 57 percent said they could reach out to a teacher or counselor for such support.

This is one of the findings in “Supporting the Mental Health Well-Being of High School Students,” a new report from ACT.

Additionally, rural students reported less access to basic school-based mental health services compared to students in suburban locations. Seventy-one percent of suburban students, compared to only 65 percent of rural students, said they could access a school-based professional to talk about certain mental health issues.

The ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning offered some recommendations based on the report.

  • Promote awareness of the availability of existing mental health services.
  • Provide access to universal mental health screenings.
  • Increase efforts to recruit and provide ongoing professional development for school counselors.
  • Increase state and federal funding for school-based mental health support.
  • Provide mental health services through community partnerships.
  • Establish competitive grant programs to evaluate program effectiveness.

Read the full report and recommendations at

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