Townhall focuses on mental health and substance use in school-aged children

A local coalition held a townhall focusing on drug use and mental health in school-aged children.
Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 12:53 AM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - On Thursday night, the Wood County Prevention Coalition held a townhall focusing on drug use and mental health in school-aged children.

Locals listened intently to speakers who shared both statistics and insight into where local students stand with mental health and substance use issues.

Wood County Schools’ Coordinator of Assessment and Student Services Cathy Grewe voiced concern over student mental health challenges.

“As professionals, our task is to try to address the underlying issues that are going on and trying to get students back on track,” she said.

Grewe also highlighted drug use prevention strategies the school system has implemented. This includes drug use prevention programs, the annual drug prevention week, anti-vaping campaigns, and more.

“It definitely takes a village and we are just very fortunate in Wood County Schools to have all the agencies and local groups that are joining forces with us,” she said.

Prevention was a major point of discussion.

Westbrook’s Director of Youth Services Nancy Creighton said it’s something that’s overlooked.

“Effective prevention strategies will reduce the need for treatment and can help expand people’s ability to recognize what is available in their community, can build hope in people, can help strengthen communities…,” she said.

Wood County Prevention Coalition President Robert Newell hopes the event helps shift the conversation towards solutions and the root of the issue.

“There is no doubt that mental health is the issue…,” he said.

Towards the end of the event, a local high schooler presented a check to the coalition. He and his friends banded together to raise the money. He said he decided he wanted to make a difference after witnessing an overdose at Parkersburg City Park.