Town Hall Focuses on Mental Health and Substance Use in School-Age Children

PARKERSBURG, Va. (WTAP) – On Thursday evening, the Wood County Coalition for Prevention held a town hall focused on substance use and mental health among school-aged children.

Locals listened intently to speakers who shared both statistics and insights on how local students are perceiving mental health and substance use issues.

Cathy Grewe, coordinator of assessment and student services at Wood County Schools, expressed concern about student mental health challenges.

“Our job as professionals is to address ongoing underlying issues and keep students on track,” she said.

Grewe also highlighted drug use prevention strategies implemented by the school system. This includes drug use prevention programs, annual drug prevention weeks, and e-cigarette ban campaigns.

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

Prevention was a major point of discussion.

Nancy Clayton, Westbrook’s director of youth services, said it’s something that’s been overlooked.

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

Wood County Prevention Coalition Chairman Robert Newell hopes the event will help direct conversations to solutions and to the root of the problem.

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

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

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