Last month, The Washington Post reported two 17-year-old male students, both athletes at Langley High School in Fairfax County, committed suicide on consecutive days. The Post had previously reported the suicides of two football players at two other Fairfax County high schools in 2009 and 2011. "It's a challenge for us, at least from an athletic training standpoint," said Reynolds. "We only see that student for a small portion of their day, and in many cases it is a portion of the day that is the fun part." Reynolds said his district has mounted an effort to use the expertise of its counseling department and the school psychologists, as well as community organizations. "We just need to be more cognizant as to the potential warning signs and triggers," Reynolds said. "Things that we could see that are obvious, and in many cases more subtle and less obvious, that we need to pay attention to and realize that this student is dealing with something that they probably need more support than they're receiving." Last year, Neal chaired an NATA task force that issued a report on developing a plan to recognize and refer college athletes with mental health concerns. "The athlete has unique stressors and triggers that are not found in the regular student," said Neal.
Focus on mental health issues of youth to college athletes
Health care reform isn?t reaching everyone
These are primarily people between 138 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Depending on the final program structure, an individual earning over $17,000 a year could save nearly $1,200 a year in healthcare-related costs with the Federal Basic Health Option instead of a subsidized Exchange plan, which in reality is unaffordable to them. These savings of roughly $100 per month would be critical for a person earning less than $1,450 a month who also has to pay for rent, food, utilities, transportation and other necessities. Many of our patients fall into this category hardworking people, trying to make a go at a small business or piecing several jobs together to support their family. The Legislature should include funding in the supplemental budget this session to determine if this program is a wise investment for our state, funding both an econometric study of the programs impacts and the policy design necessary to develop Washingtons Federal Basic Health Option. Its well worth the effort to explore options to continue keeping health care coverage up and securing it for the future.