Houston Nonprofit Declares Mental Health State of Emergency in Texas Schools
Texas has a higher prevalence of mental illness in youth and low access to care
By: Allstar Nation Tour
To combat a mental health epidemic in Texas schools, the Allstar Nation Tour (http://www.allstarnationtour.com/)
"We have a state-of-emergency in our schools," said ANT founder and manager Dillon Smith. "Texas ranks near the bottom when it comes to mental health spending. Suicide is on the rise as is bullying. We have to act now to help our students and show them there is a way forward."
Texas has a higher prevalence of mental illness in youth and lower rates of access to care, according to Mental Health America, the nation's leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness. The 2017 Texas youth suicide rate was substantially higher than the national average of seven percent and higher than the previously reported Texas rate of 10 percent in 2013.
Furthermore, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, 12 percent of Texas high school students attempted suicide in 2017. The report also shows an increase in the already-high number of Texas high schoolers who reported feeling sad or hopeless: 34 percent in 2017 compared to 28 percent in 2013. Many Texas high school students — around 19 percent — reported that they were bullied on campus, similar to the number reported in 2013.
Unlike traditional school assemblies, ANT delivers powerful and memorable messages that students retain for years following. To connect with students, ANT's program includes 3-5 student advocates, who happen to be among the country's top emerging music artists. They deliver an energetic and passionate concert-like experience mixed with powerful and passionate messages based on real-life experiences. The group's messages focus on the "L.I.T. Experience", or "Live, Inspire and Transform."
The music and messages are performed live and delivered by the artists, some who have competed on hit shows like X-Factor, American Idol, and The Voice. The 60 to 90-minute assembly program is the only one of its kind in the country.
Texas communities such as Katy, Houston, Sugar Land, and others will host assemblies at middle and high schools starting Tuesday, November 6 in Katy. Student advocate music artists participating include former season one X-Factor standout Drew Ryn, 21, of Nashville; Ray Goren, 18, of Las Angeles; Griffin Holtby, 18 of Dallas, Texas; Nya Marquez, 16, of Arlington, Texas; and popular four-member boyband Single by Sunday from Glasgow, Scotland.
In addition the music, the assembly will include special celebrity guest videos including 19-year-old viral pop artist Anthony Gargiula, who competed on season two of The Four and appeared on The Ellen Show. Assembly locations, dates, and times include:
Tuesday, November 6: (Two Assemblies)
Katy Junior High, 5350 Franz Rd., Katy (9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.)
Wednesday, November 7 (One Assembly)
Stockdick Junior High, 4777 Peek Rd, Katy (2:00-3:00 p.m.)
Thursday, November 8
To be scheduled (time TBD)
Friday, November 9 (Two Assemblies)
David Crockett Middle School, 19001 Beechnut St, Richmond (9:00 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.)
Monday, November 12 (One Assembly)
Beck Junior High, 5200 S Fry Rd, Katy (2:00 p.m.)
Tuesday, November 13 (Two Assemblies)
Lawson Middle School, 14000 Stancliff St, Houston (9:00 a.m.)
Baines Middle School, 9000 Sienna Ranch Rd, Missouri City (2:00 p.m.)
Wednesday, November 14 (One Assembly)
Quail Valley Middle School, 3019 FM 1092 Rd, Missouri City, (9:00 a.m.)
Thursday, November 15 (One Assembly)
First Colony Middle School, 3225 Austin Pkwy, Sugar Land (9:00 a.m.)
Friday, November 16 (Two Assemblies)
Cinco Ranch Junior High, 23420 Cinco Ranch Blvd, Katy (9:00 a.m. and & 1:00 p.m.)
The Allstar Nation Tour has exploded in popularity having attracted schools and top performers from around the country. The 501c3 organization has previously visited more than 200 schools in Michigan, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah since August 2014 performing and speaking to more than 200,000 students and faculty. It relies on private donations and corporate sponsorships.
For tax deductible donations or to sponsor ANT program assemblies and materials, visit www.allstarnationtour.com or call 713-562-1708.