State Committee On School Violence Cites Lack Of Mental Health Resources

Photo: Safe2Tell Program badge
Many school districts print the Safe2Tell information on the back of students' ID badges.

Colorado schools are doing a good job in assessing threats, but they don’t have enough mental health support for troubled students. That was the message at the first meeting of a state committee set up to prevent school violence.

A group of state lawmakers, parents and school psychologists will study the issue over the summer and provide ideas for legislation next year. Susan Payne, who directs an anonymous tip line for students called Safe2Tell, sees a need for more education encouraging students to come forward when they see peers who are depressed, suicidal or homicidal.

"[In] 81% of those incidents, they could identify somebody that knew that it was going to happen and failed to report it," she said.

In a 2013 survey, one quarter of Colorado middle and high school students reported being depressed. Other experts said schools don’t have enough psychologists or resources to train teachers on dealing with students in crisis.