Welcome! Login | Register

Subscribe Now: Free Daily EBlast

 
 

The RI High Schools with the Most Depressed Students

Thursday, November 13, 2014

 

In Rhode Island, 9,043 high school students last year reported experiencing depression at least once within the past 12 months.

An estimated 1,129 considered killing themselves.

About half as many actually tried to go through with it.

PLEASE SEE SLIDESHOW ON HOW THE SCHOOLS RANK

Such statistics—alarming to many observers—are revealed in a statewide survey known as SurveyWorks that was offered to public high school students last spring.

“You don’t need to overhype. It is sort of scary as it is,” said Tom Hoffman, a former technology director at the now-closed Feinstein High School who works as a technology consultant for largely non-U.S. schools and is an education policy blogger locally. “It indicates that a lot of our young people are unhappy straight up.”

Between 2008 and 2012, 19 teenagers in Rhode Island took their own lives, according to Kids Count data.

“We know that [there] is a growing problem of children with mental health disorders, not just in Rhode Island but in the rest of the nation,” said Elizabeth Burke Bryant, executive director of Rhode Island Kids Count, which annually collects reams of data on child health and well-being.

Statewide, 28.8 percent of public high school students reported that they were or had been depressed during the past 12 months, according to the survey. Of those who reported depression, 12.2 percent considered suicide and 5.8 percent attempted it.

Those figures are consistent with national data, according to officials at the Rhode Island Department of Health, which uses the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey to make comparisons between students in the state and across the nation. In the state, 25.8 percent of students in 2013 said they had been depressed as compared with 29.9 percent nationally. Rhode Island students actually had suicidal thoughts at a rate lower than their peers nationally: a difference of 13.9 percent to 17 percent.

But Rhode Island students attempted suicide at least once at a higher rate than students nationwide, 14.3 percent to 8 percent, according to information provided Jeffrey Hill, an official at the Department of Health who runs the RI Youth Suicide Prevention Project, a partnership with RI Student Assistance Services, a private organization.

Depression and suicidal thoughts a statewide problem

In Rhode Island, it’s a problem that does not discriminate. A number of the state’s urban schools report significant numbers of depression and suicidal thoughts among their high school students, but so do many of the suburbs and more affluent communities.

At Barrington High School, 24 percent of students who participated in SurveyWorks said they had been depressed in the past 12 months. But so did 23.9 percent of students at Mount Pleasant High School. At Narragansett High School, 23.8 percent of respondents had experienced depression. (See below slides for a profile of each public high school in Rhode Island for which data was available.)

“Depression is a serious and troubling mental-health issue among students in Rhode Island and across the country. One of our responsibilities as educators is to take the proper steps to ensure that our students are safe and healthy, mentally as well as physically. Through the coordinated school-health program that we run in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Health, we strive to make sure that teachers and other school personnel are aware of the warning signs of depression or other mental illness and that referrals are available for students in need of treatment or counseling,” state education Commission Deborah Gist said in a statement provided to GoLocalProv.

Gist spokesman Elliot Krieger said the state Department of Education has formed partnerships with a number of state agencies—including the Health Department, DCYF, and the state Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals—aimed at combating depression and suicide among public school students.

Krieger said the state has contracted with The Samaritans of Rhode Island to provide professional development for school staff on the issue. A second contractor, RI Student Assistance Services has trained an estimated 3,000 local educators in a program known as Question, Persuade, and Refer, according to Hill. The program is designed to help teachers and other school staff know what to look out for so that at risk-students can be referred to a counselor, he said.

“All school districts are expected to have a school physician and certified school nurse teacher; these staff members, along with school social workers, school psychologists, guidance counselors and the like, establish and foster relationships with providers to meet the needs of youth that go beyond the resources and authority of the school. Local districts develop and maintain those relationships, and all school districts are expected to have a school health program,” Krieger said.

Some of those in-school counselors are provided by the RI Youth Suicide Prevention Project. So far, they maintain a presence in 38 schools in Rhode Island, according to Hill.

Suicide prevention is also a topic covered in the state-mandated health curriculum for high school students, according to Krieger.

Those efforts have the unintended consequence of making the problem seem like it’s on the rise when, in fact, it isn’t necessarily so. Instead, as stigma goes down, increasing numbers of students feel more comfortable admitting they have a problem, according to Hill and Bryant.

The difference school environment makes

A similar dynamic might explain why some schools, particularly some of the state’s charter schools, report higher-than-average rates of depression and suicidal thoughts among their students. Topping the list is the Beacon Charter High School for the Arts in Woonsocket, where 41.1 percent of students said they have experienced depression, and, of those who did, 27.9 said their depression was so severe that they contemplated suicide.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that students at the school are more depressed than their peers elsewhere. Instead, it’s a reflection of a school environment where students are encouraged to be open about how they are feeling, according to Christina Go, the director of admissions and family engagement.

“They feel safe. They feel loved,” Go said. “Sometimes when you have that open environment, they feel more open to express how they’re feeling.”

One possible measure of how connected students feel with their school is the rate at which they participate in the survey. Beacon Charter had the second highest rate of students, an estimated 92.07 percent, answer the question about depression. Only East Greenwich High School had a higher rate (92.59 percent).

School demographics can also affect survey responses. That too might be the case at Beacon Charter—but not necessarily in ways that one might expect. The school is located in Woonsocket, a community where the local high school also had a higher-than-average rate of depression, but Beacon Charter draws students from all over the state, Go said. Instead of broader socio-economic factors, she pointed to individual student characteristics.

“They’re artists and artists as a whole tend to be a little more emotional,” she said.

Hoffman cautioned against reading too much into why several charters like Beacon have slightly higher-than-average depression rates. Such schools might make more of an effort to ensure that more of their students complete the surveys, he said. Another possible explanation: some of the charters could be drawing students who have been unhappy in their current school environments, according to Hoffman. The depression rates could reflect their past experiences, he suggested.

Rather than indicating a specific pattern, he said the numbers tell a story of a problem that is statewide. “These numbers are just inherently worrisome,” he said. 

 

Related Slideshow: Depression Among High School Students: How Does Your Community Compare?

The below slides show the number of students who reported experiencing depression at least once in the past 12 months, based upon the SurveyWorks survey, which was offered to public high school students across the state in the spring of 2014. For those who said they had been depressed, the survey asked how many had considered suicide and how many had actually attempted it. Schools are listed based on depression rates, starting with the lowest to the highest. Note that the rates can be affected by how many students participate in the survey and how supportive a school environment is. Schools that were not full high schools are not included. Source: InfoWorks! data from the Rhode Island Department of Education. 

Prev Next

#56 Block Island School

Location: New Shoreham
Number of Students: NA

Number of Student Respondents: 30
% Who Have Been Depressed: 16.7

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: NA
% Who Attempted Suicide: NA

Prev Next

#55 Cranston Construction Career Academy

Location: Cranston
Number of Students: 158

Number of Student Respondents: 124
% Who Have Been Depressed: 19.4

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 8.1
% Who Attempted Suicide: 0.0

Prev Next

#54 Sheila Skip Nowell Leadership Academy (II)

Location: Providence
Number of Students: 81

Number of Student Respondents: 15
% Who Have Been Depressed: 20.0

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: NA
% Who Attempted Suicide: NA

Prev Next

#53 Exeter/West Greenwich 

Location: Exeter and West Greenwich
Number of Students: 540

Number of Student Respondents: 438
% Who Have Been Depressed: 20.1

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 9.1 
% Who Attempted Suicide: 4.8

Prev Next

#52 North Smithfield High School

Location: North Smithfield
Number of Students: 519

Number of Student Respondents: 431
% Who Have Been Depressed: 21.8

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 7.9
% Who Attempted Suicide: 2.3

Prev Next

#51 South Kingstown High School

Location: South Kingstown
Number of Students: 1,073

Number of Student Respondents: 685
% Who Have Been Depressed: 22.3

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 10.8
% Who Attempted Suicide: 4.7

Prev Next

#50 Portsmouth High School

Location: Portsmouth
Number of Students: 960

Number of Student Respondents: 777
% Who Have Been Depressed: 22.4

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 10.6
% Who Attempted Suicide: 6.0

Prev Next

#49 Chariho Regional High School

Location: Charlestown
Number of Students: 1,201

Number of Student Respondents: 955
% Who Have Been Depressed: 23.7

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 10.2
% Who Attempted Suicide: 4.8

Prev Next

#48 Narragansett High School

Location: Narragansett
Number of Students: 429

Number of Student Respondents: 349
% Who Have Been Depressed: 23.8

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 11.2
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.3

Prev Next

#47 Mount Pleasant High School

Location: Providence
Number of Students: 898

Number of Student Respondents: 656
% Who Have Been Depressed: 23.9

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 8.1
% Who Attempted Suicide: 4.5

Prev Next

#46 Barrington High School

Location: Barrington
Number of Students: 1,027

Number of Student Respondents: 843
% Who Have Been Depressed: 24.0

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 9.6
% Who Attempted Suicide: 3.2

Prev Next

#45 Scituate High School

Location: Scituate
Number of Students: 469

Number of Student Respondents: 399
% Who Have Been Depressed: 24.1

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 8.2
% Who Attempted Suicide: 4.1

Prev Next

#44 William B. Cooley Senior High School

Location: Providence
Number of Students: 617

Number of Student Respondents: 376
% Who Have Been Depressed: 24.2

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 6.9
% Who Attempted Suicide: 4.8

Prev Next

#43 Ponaganset High School

Location: Foster and Glocester
Number of Students: 684

Number of Student Respondents:  541
% Who Have Been Depressed: 24.4

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 11.2
% Who Attempted Suicide: 6.2

Prev Next

#42 East Greenwich High School 

Location: East Greenwich
Number of Students: 729

Number of Student Respondents: 675
% Who Have Been Depressed: 24.6

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 9.7
% Who Attempted Suicide: 4.8

Prev Next

#41 Lincoln Senior High School 

Location: Lincoln
Number of Students: 1,005

Number of Student Respondents: 771
% Who Have Been Depressed: 24.8

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 11.1
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.1

Prev Next

#40 Smithfield Senior High School

Location: Smithfield
Number of Students: 755

Number of Student Respondents: 499
% Who Have Been Depressed: 24.8

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 12.2
% Who Attempted Suicide: 7.3

Prev Next

#39 North Kingstown Senior High School

Location: North Kingstown
Number of Students: 1,387

Number of Student Respondents: 979
% Who Have Been Depressed: 25.0

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 10.4
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.2

Prev Next

#38 Coventry High School

Location: Coventry
Number of Students: 1,607

Number of Student Respondents: 1,254
% Who Have Been Depressed: 25.8

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 11.6
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.1

Prev Next

#37 Paul Cuffee Charter School

Location: Providence
Number of Students: NA

Number of Student Respondents: 205
% Who Have Been Depressed: 25.9

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 13.2
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.4

Prev Next

#36 West Warwick Senior High School

Location: West Warwick
Number of Students: 935

Number of Student Respondents: 628
% Who Have Been Depressed: 27.2

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 14.9
% Who Attempted Suicide: 7.1

Prev Next

#35 Westerly High School

Location: Westerly
Number of Students: 917

Number of Student Respondents:  662
% Who Have Been Depressed: 27.3

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 10.8
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.6

Prev Next

#34 Providence Career and Technical Academy

Location: Providence
Number of Students: 577

Number of Student Respondents: 424
% Who Have Been Depressed: 27.4

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 5.5
% Who Attempted Suicide: 3.4

Prev Next

#33 Toll Gate High School

Location: Warwick
Number of Students: 958

Number of Student Respondents: 684
% Who Have Been Depressed: 27.5

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 11.5
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.9

Prev Next

#32 Classical High School

Location: Providence
Number of Students: 1,119

Number of Student Respondents: 997
% Who Have Been Depressed: 27.7

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 8.8
% Who Attempted Suicide: 2.6

Prev Next

#31 Cumberland High School

Location: Cumberland
Number of Students: 1,337

Number of Student Respondents: 1,039
% Who Have Been Depressed: 27.8

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 12.0
% Who Attempted Suicide: 6.6

Prev Next

#30 E-Cubed Academy

Location: Providence
Number of Students: 349

Number of Student Respondents: 167
% Who Have Been Depressed: 28.1

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 12.5
% Who Attempted Suicide: 3.8

Prev Next

#29 Central Falls High School

Location: Central Falls
Number of Students: 727

Number of Student Respondents: 464
% Who Have Been Depressed: 28.4

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 11.9
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.0

Prev Next

#28 Burrillville High School

Location: Burrillville
Number of Students: 682

Number of Student Respondents: 555
% Who Have Been Depressed: 28.8

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 11.6
% Who Attempted Suicide: 3.1

Prev Next

#27 Blackstone Charter Academy

Location: Pawtucket
Number of Students: 168

Number of Student Respondents: 146
% Who Have Been Depressed: 28.8

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 11.6
% Who Attempted Suicide: 4.1

Prev Next

#26 Cranston High School West

Location: Cranston
Number of Students: 1,526

Number of Student Respondents: 1,242
% Who Have Been Depressed: 29.2

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 13.6
% Who Attempted Suicide: 7.0

Prev Next

#25 Hope High School

Location: Providence
Number of Students: 894

Number of Student Respondents: 642
% Who Have Been Depressed: 29.4

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 11.3
% Who Attempted Suicide: 8.6

Prev Next

#24 Rogers High School

Location: Newport
Number of Students: 538

Number of Student Respondents: 390
% Who Have Been Depressed: 29.7

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 9.6
% Who Attempted Suicide: 4.5

Prev Next

#23 William E. Tolman Senior High School

Location: Pawtucket
Number of Students: 1,034

Number of Student Respondents: 563
% Who Have Been Depressed: 30.0

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 10.7
% Who Attempted Suicide: 4.9

Prev Next

#22 Shea Senior High School

Location: Pawtucket
Number of Students: 858

Number of Student Respondents: 593
% Who Have Been Depressed: 30.4

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 10.3
% Who Attempted Suicide: 7.0

Prev Next

#21 Tiverton High School

Location: Tiverton
Number of Students: 541

Number of Student Respondents: 437
% Who Have Been Depressed: 30.4

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 11.8
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.7

Prev Next

#20 Central High School

Location: Providence
Number of Students: 1,112

Number of Student Respondents: 700
% Who Have Been Depressed: 30.6

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 10.6
% Who Attempted Suicide: 6.3

Prev Next

#19 Mt. Hope High School

Location: Bristol
Number of Students: 990

Number of Student Respondents: 745
% Who Have Been Depressed: 31.0

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 13.8
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.9

Prev Next

#18 Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School

Location: Providence
Number of Students: 486

Number of Student Respondents: 327
% Who Have Been Depressed: 31.2

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 8.3
% Who Attempted Suicide: 4.9

Prev Next

#17 North Providence High School

Location: North Providence
Number of Students: 969

Number of Student Respondents: 769
% Who Have Been Depressed:  31.7

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 14.3
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.2

Prev Next

#16 Cranston High School East

Location: Cranston
Number of Students: 1,583

Number of Student Respondents: 1,317
% Who Have Been Depressed: 32.8

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 14.1
% Who Attempted Suicide:  6.7

Prev Next

#15 Academy for Career Exploration

Location: Providence
Number of Students: 168

Number of Student Respondents: 97
% Who Have Been Depressed: 33.0

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 12.4
% Who Attempted Suicide: 1.0

Prev Next

#14 Middletown High School 

Location: Middletown
Number of Students: 685

Number of Student Respondents:  514
% Who Have Been Depressed: 33.3

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 11.7
% Who Attempted Suicide: 6.0

Prev Next

#13 Johnston Senior High School 

Location: Johnston
Number of Students: 893

Number of Student Respondents: 659
% Who Have Been Depressed: 33.5

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 16.4
% Who Attempted Suicide: 7.6

Prev Next

#12 Pilgrim High School

Location: Warwick
Number of Students: 991

Number of Student Respondents: 791
% Who Have Been Depressed: 33.5

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 16.1
% Who Attempted Suicide: 7.8

Prev Next

#11 East Providence High School

Location: East Providence
Number of Students: 1,502

Number of Student Respondents: 1,181
% Who Have Been Depressed: 33.8

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 14.6
% Who Attempted Suicide: 7.3

Prev Next

#10 Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center

Location: Providence
Number of Students: 838

Number of Student Respondents: 608
% Who Have Been Depressed: 34.4

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 15.4
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.4

Prev Next

#9 William M. Davies Career & Technical Center

Location: Lincoln
Number of Students: 849

Number of Student Respondents: 702
% Who Have Been Depressed: 34.5

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 17.6
% Who Attempted Suicide: 7.0

Prev Next

#8 Warwick Veterans Memorial High School

Location: Warwick
Number of Students: 910

Number of Student Respondents:  629
% Who Have Been Depressed: 34.8

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 16.3
% Who Attempted Suicide: 7.8

Prev Next

#7 The Greene School

Location: Exeter
Number of Students: 162

Number of Student Respondents: 138
% Who Have Been Depressed: 35.5

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 16.7
% Who Attempted Suicide: 7.2

Prev Next

#6 J.M. Walsh School

Location: Pawtucket
Number of Students: 192

Number of Student Respondents: 172
% Who Have Been Depressed: 36.6

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 17.4
% Who Attempted Suicide: 6.4

Prev Next

#5 Times2 Academy

Location: Providence
Number of Students: NA

Number of Student Respondents: 35
% Who Have Been Depressed: 37.1

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 17.1
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.7

Prev Next

#4 Woonsocket High School 

Location: Woonsocket 
Number of Students: 1,579

Number of Student Respondents: 1,026
% Who Have Been Depressed: 37.3

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 17.0
% Who Attempted Suicide: 9.3

Prev Next

#3 RI Nurses Institute

Location: Providence
Number of Students: 266

Number of Student Respondents: 193
% Who Have Been Depressed: 38.9

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 10.9
% Who Attempted Suicide: 5.2

Prev Next

#2 Sheila Skip Nowell Leadership Academy (I)

Location: Central Falls
Number of Students: 73

Number of Student Respondents: 25
% Who Have Been Depressed: 40.0

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 12.0
% Who Attempted Suicide: 12.0

Prev Next

#1 Beacon Charter High School for the Arts

Location: Woonsocket
Number of Students: 227

Number of Student Respondents: 209
% Who Have Been Depressed: 41.1

Of those Who Have Been Depressed
% Who Considered Suicide: 27.9
% Who Attempted Suicide: 12.2

 
 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

 

X

Stay Connected — Free
Daily Email
 
:!