This Research, and its recommendations, was compiled by members of the MYAN Statewide Youth Policy Board between 2018 and 2020. Current members at the time of publishing: Abi Pettengill; Charlie Eng; Elle McPhee; Lexi Usher; Tristan Seavey; and Will Fournier.
We started this project in fall 2018 focusing on problems affecting young people in Maine. Initially, we chose to research and analyze Maine’s Gatekeeper Training, which eventually led us to study the overall topic of mental health and wellness of students in Maine’s schools.
This round of research reaffirmed three of our recommendations for improving youth mental health in Maine’s schools. We recommend the following:
- Increased mental health education for faculty
- Increased access to resources and mental health professionals in schools
- Have open dialogues between students and teachers about mental health
We acknowledge that the first two recommendations require action from Maine Department of Education and local school leaders. We encourage adult decision makers to take action in accordance with these research findings and recommendations.
Our final recommendation, “Have open dialogues between students and teachers about mental health,” presents an ideal opportunity for youth-adult partnerships in schools. These sessions are intended to provide a space for students to voice their experiences with mental health services in the school and to work with teachers to imagine better alternatives. Due to COVID-19 we were unable to facilitate these dialogue sessions. However, we recommend the following be pursued to maximize the impact of student-faculty dialogues.