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AP
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Three years before Tennessee death row inmate Henry Hodges cut off his own penis during what his lawyer called a “psychiatric disturbance,” a fellow prisoner told a federal judge that Hodges was being mistreated. Hodges was kept for three decades in solitary confinement, which experts say is detrimental to a person's mental health even over short periods. Although his act of self-mutilation is extreme, it underscores the significant, unaddressed mental health care needs of prisoners. In Tennessee alone, Correction Department records categorize nearly 23% of inmates as having a “serious and persistent mental illness.” Meanwhile an audit of the state's prison system has raised questions about whether it has done enough to confront the crisis.

AP
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Despite an influx of COVID-19 relief money, school districts across the country have struggled to staff up to address students’ mental health needs that have only grown since the pandemic hit. Among 18 of the country’s largest school districts, 12 started this school year with fewer counselors or psychologists than they had in fall 2019, according to an analysis by Chalkbeat. As a result, many school mental health professionals have caseloads that far exceed recommended limits, according to experts and advocates, and students must wait for urgently needed help.

AP
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Mira Ugwuadu, 17, poses for a portrait on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Marietta, Ga. School districts across the country have struggled to staff up to address students' mental health needs. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

AP
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Mira Ugwuadu, 17, poses for a portrait on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Marietta, Ga. School districts across the country have struggled to staff up to address students' mental health needs. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

AP
  • Updated

Mira Ugwuadu, 17, poses for a portrait on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Marietta, Ga. School districts across the country have struggled to staff up to address students' mental health needs. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

AP
  • Updated

Mira Ugwuadu, 17, poses for a portrait on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Marietta, Ga. School districts across the country have struggled to staff up to address students' mental health needs. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

AP
  • Updated

Mira Ugwuadu, 17, poses for a portrait on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Marietta, Ga. School districts across the country have struggled to staff up to address students' mental health needs. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

AP
  • Updated

Natalie Rincon poses for a photograph outside a Houston elementary school Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Houston. Rincon, one of the new social workers, has seen firsthand the benefit of having a fuller mental health team at her elementary school, where many students are refugees or newly arrived immigrant students coping with trauma from their migration. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AP
  • Updated

Natalie Rincon poses for a photograph outside a Houston elementary school Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Houston. Rincon, one of the new social workers, has seen firsthand the benefit of having a fuller mental health team at her elementary school, where many students are refugees or newly arrived immigrant students coping with trauma from their migration. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)