Community Needs Statement
Summary of Pierce County Data and Community Needs Assessments: Insight into the current
mental health status of our youth, the services available to them, and the task(s) before us.
Data reviewed: Mental Health America (2017) report; County Health Rankings (2018); Community Health
Needs Assessment (CHNA, 2018); Healthy Youth Survey (HYS, 2018); Human Services Resources Institute,
Pierce County Behavioral Health Survey (1/2018); ORS Impact, Pierce County Children’s Mental Health
Summit survey (10/2018); Pierce County Accountable Communities of Health (ACH) data; Health Care
Authority, Children’s Mental Health Work Group (HCA CMHWG) legislative recommendations (2019)
Multiple sources of information underscore the needs of families and youth residing in Pierce
County. This Kid’s Mental Health – Pierce County Community Needs Statement summarizes the
behavioral health services available to children and adolescents as presented in community
assessments and other data sources in effort to guide and prioritize decision making regarding our
community’s next efforts.
The Mental Health Status of our Children
Consistent with trends across our nation, the mental health challenges facing children and adolescents
within Pierce County have reached crisis proportions, with concerning decrease in the age of onset of
serious symptoms. System fragmentation as well as access, workforce, and crisis capacity challenges
currently present significant barriers to serving youth who are most in need.
The 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) conducted by MultiCare & the Tacoma Pierce
County Health Department has reported the following with regards to the prevalence of depression
and suicidality in Pierce County youth:
- Greater than one-fourth of Pierce County middle schoolers self-report depressive symptoms.1
- One-fifth of high schoolers have seriously considered attempting suicide with suicide being the
second leading cause of death in individuals ages 10-24.2,3
- Suicide rates for children in Pierce County are greater than the statewide rates.
- 4 of the 5 top issues facing our youth fall within the area of behavioral health including suicide,
exposure to abuse and bullying, obesity and depression.
- Based on the 2018 Healthy Youth Survey, the current prevalence rates were identified:
- 40% of Pierce County high schoolers (34% of middle schoolers) report having been so sad or
hopeless during the past year that they ceased engaging in some usual activities.
- 24-27% indicate seriously considering suicide (21% middle school).
- 21% support making a plan (17% middle school).
- 6% (7% middle school) report at least 1 prior suicide attempt within the past 12 months.
When asked about available resources, only slightly more than half of youth surveyed indicated feeling that
there are adults they can turn to for help when feeling sad or hopeless. Clearly, increased access and
support to crisis services are needed for our children.