Student Mental Health and Wellbeing

An adverse childhood experience describes a traumatic experience in a person’s life occurring before the age of 18. From 2016-to 2019, Humboldt County lead the State in recording the highest percentage of students reporting two or more adverse childhood experiences. The California average for this indicator is 14.9%.

Research has highlighted a variety of contributing factors to aces, such as these, below, comparing California percentages to Humboldt, and highlighting the disproportionality of these student groupings in this small, rural county.

Humboldt County's ACES percentage is nearly double the state average of 14.9% and also exceeds the surrounding counties in the northern part of the state (e.g., 20.2% to 24.8%).

Counties who have these higher ACEs percentages also see indicators in the California Healthy Kids Survey responses indicating feelings of depression. The interactive graphic below allows for reviewing the county ACEs percentage relative to student depression by grade, for grades 7, 9, and 11, as measured by the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS).

For Humboldt, there is a consistent increase in reported percentages of student depression for grade 7 (30.4%), 9 (34.2%), 11 (38.6%) and non-traditional students served at the county office (47.5%). For a point of comparison, Lake County is reporting an ACEs percentage of 24.8% yet reports higher percentages of student depression for grades 7 (35.7%), 9 (36.8%), and 11 (45.5%). Lake (45.5%), Del Norte (45.9%), and Lassen (43.8%) report higher percentages of student depression for grade 11.

Counties recording the highest responses to feelings of depression on the CA Healthy Kids Survey sometimes have difficulty getting access to mental health services, as indicated by the percentage of students who have received at least one specialty mental health service. California's average for students receiving at least one specialty mental health service is at 4.2%.

The statewide views of county percentages of students receiving one and five specialty mental health services shows the need for these services, especially in the smaller, rural norther counties.

Oftentimes counties with higher need for mental health and primary care services are also the counties who lack those resources as indicated by patient to provider ratios below. For Humboldt, falling below the state average for mental health patient to provider proportions could be indicative of additional staff hired due to availability of funds from the state initiatives addressing this issue. Humboldt continues to struggle in incentivizing health care providers to come to this rural, remote area.