Volume 29, Issue 4 (2000)
Commentary: School Psychologists as Health-Care Providers: A Means to Success for All
Sandra L. Christenson
Efforts to improve school performance that ignore health are ill-conceived, as are health improvement efforts that ignore education. National Commission on the Role of the School and the Community in Improving Adolescent Health (1990, p. 9) It is a well-supported contention that schools alone cannot solve and should not address the problems of today’s students. Collaboration with parents and community is imperative. Nothing illustrates this point better than the sheer number of concerns that surface for high-risk adolescents.Six preventable behaviors (social morbidities)account for the majority of serious illnesses and premature deaths in the U.S.: tobacco use, poor eating habits, abuse of alcohol and other drugs,intentional or unintentional injury (e.g., suicide),physical inactivity, and sexual behaviors that result in HIV infection other sexually transmitted diseases or unintended pregnancy (Kolbe, 1990).According to the recently released annual report from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (Star Tribune , 2000), teen pregnancy and juvenile violence have dropped to the lowest point in 20 years whereas rates for binge drinking, drug use, or cigarette smoking for the nation’s 70.2 million children younger than 18 years of age have shown no decrease.These same adolescents are often suicidal,dropouts, and substance abusers. Clearly, the complexity of these social concerns requires integrated services.
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