Improving the Social and Emotional Health of Youth in our Community
Depression can diminish the quality of a young person's life, resulting in fewer friends, less social support, greater stress, and lower academic achievement. In adolescence, depression and suicidal behavior are linked and can also exacerbate chronic illnessess such as asthma and diabetes. At the same time that supportive positions in schools, such as counselors and school nurses, have been cut and mental health services provided by the counties have been drastically reduced or eliminated, one-quarter to one-third of all young people report depressive feelings that affect their quality of life. Parents too have difficulty identifying that their child may be depressed or have depression-related feelings. For these reasons, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital has newly adopted a third priority area for our community benefit work: Improving the Social and Emotional Health of Youth.
Our Programs and Partners in Improving the Social and Emotion Health of our Youth.
Health Care Alliance for Response to Adolescent Depression (HEARD)
In response to three incidents of teen suicide in Palo Alto during the spring of 2009, the HEARD Alliance works to prevent crisis situations, increase awareness of mental disorders, decrease stigma surrounding them, and increase portals of access for treatment. Packard Children's has supported this program for the past three years.
Project Safety Net
The mission of Project Safety Net is to develop and implement an effective, comprehensive, community-based mental health plan for overall youth well-being in Palo Alto through education, prevention, and intervention strategies that provide a "safety net" for youth and teens.
Sources of Strength Program
Designed to increase help seeking behaviors and connections between peers and caring adults, the Sources of Strength program is a comprehensive wellness program that uses peer leaders to change norms around codes of silence and mental health, while building multiple sources of support around students so that, when times get hard, they have strengths to rely on.
More information about our other community benefits and outreach priority areas and programs, 2011 Community Benefits Report with financial valuation, and 2012 Plan for Community Services can be found here.