Stress & mental health big student issues

MHS sigh

This article is from the Medfield Press.

At the Medfield Cares About Prevention (MCAP) meeting this morning, that focused on the high levels of student stress and mental health issues noted in the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey, Jeff Marsden, the Superintendent, said that the full survey will be released after the March 9 presentation on the data to parents.  Seeing in the data the high numbers of our kids that are contemplating suicide requires us, as a town, to respond.


  • Posted Feb. 29, 2016 at 2:22 PM


    Medfield often receives praise for its small-town community atmosphere and strong school system, but similar to other towns in the region, more Medfield adolescents are experiencing stress, feelings of sadness, and suicidal thoughts, according to the most recent MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey administered in 2014.

    In addition to stress-related data, parents and community members at large will have a chance to learn what other important information the survey revealed about Medfield students at a special presentation at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 9 in the Medfield High School auditorium.

    Speakers will be Susan Cowell, head of the Wellness Department for Medfield Public Schools, and Christi Barney, RN, MSN, a mental health expert from Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, who will talk about the unique signs of adolescent stress and share strategies parents can use to help their children.

    “On the positive side, the survey showed a decline in cigarette and marijuana use, however, the uptick in areas related to mental health are very concerning,” said Cowell, who has overseen student participation in the biennial survey since it was first administered in 2006.

    Other areas of concern based on survey findings include:

  • Bullying/cyberbullying
  • Distracted driving
  • Sleep deprivation
  • High-risk alcohol use
  • Unhealthy weight loss and body image
  • Use of e-cigarettes (“vaping”)

“Medfield is not alone in trying to address student stress and related mental health issues – it’s a problem affecting youth across the MetroWest region and beyond,” said Cowell. “We also know mental health issues are on the rise in college-aged adults too.”

Medfield Superintendent of Schools Jeff Marsden said, “It is critical that all of us – the school community and greater Medfield community – become more aware of the issues impacting the health of our youth and identify ways we can work together to support them. Our presentation on March 9 will be an important step in the right direction.”

The MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey, developed by the MetroWest Health Foundation, is part of a long-term initiative to monitor trends in health and risk behaviors. Based on 2014 responses, more than 40,000 students in grades 6 through 12 from 25 towns took the anonymous survey.

According to Cowell, with a few exceptions, Medfield’s local data reflects the regional data. Regional data on all health topics surveyed among high school students can be found at


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