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County Commissioners Say Mental Health Crisis Seriously Impacting Youth 

From The Office of Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners 

May 24, 2023 (BARNSTABLE, MA) Today Barnstable County Department of Human Services Children’s Behavioral Health consultant, Barbara Domenic, briefed the Board on an event hosted on May 12th by Senator Ed Markey and Center for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky on the mental health crisis impacting young people in Massachusetts and across the nation.  

CDC Director Dr. Walensky shared troubling statistics revealing 42% of students nationwide feel isolated and disconnected, and 1 in 5 high school girls have experienced sexual violence, with LGBTQ youth at higher risk of mental health issues. Senator Markey has proposed legislation to improve online safety, which aims to combat the youth mental health crisis that has been labeled as an emergency by the American Academy of Pediatrics.   

Barnstable County’s Children’s Behavioral Health Workgroup, established in 2019, brings together 35 cape organizations addressing all aspects of youth mental health.  The County is using ARPA funds to complete a regional needs assessment to identify gaps & strategies for improving the mental health system for children on Cape Cod. 

Gene Guill of Tales of Cape Cod provided a short history lesson on the establishment of Barnstable County, 338 years ago.  Mr. Guill noted that Barnstable County was established on June 2, 1685, when Plymouth Colony was divided into Plymouth, Bristol, and Barnstable Counties. Following the presentation, the Commissioners voted unanimously to designate June 2nd as Barnstable County Day to honor Barnstable County’s anniversary. 

The Board voted to approve a draft letter to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the proposed machine gun range on the Upper Cape Water Reserve. The letter expressed concerns about potential environmental and safety hazards and urged the EPA to consider alternative locations. 

Following the regular meeting, Barnstable County Commissioners joined County Commissioners from across the Commonwealth for a special meeting of the Massachusetts County Commissioners’ Association. Beth Albert, County Administrator, presented an in-depth overview of the programs and services offered by Barnstable County, while Dan White, the Laboratory Director, conducted a tour of the Barnstable County Water Laboratory.  

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO WATCH OR JOIN A FUTURE COMMISSIONERS’ MEETING Stay informed and engaged with Barnstable County meetings by visiting the Meeting Center at Find the Commissioners’ calendar, meeting agendas, and useful resources on how to participate. You can also live-stream meetings on YOUTUBE. Barnstable County is committed to providing accessible accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Contact Justyna Marczak, Barnstable County ADA/Non-Discrimination Coordinator, at or call 508-375-6646 for additional information. 

ABOUT BARNSTABLE COUNTY REGIONAL GOVERNMENT OF CAPE COD Barnstable County provides exemplary government functions and services to keep our community healthy and safe, promote sustainable growth, and offer a proactive, open government that enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Barnstable County. Learn more at