SAFE Community Needs Assessment Summary Share +

SAFE Community Needs Assessment Summary

August 2019

“SAFE is part of the community, part of the island, and that is huge! SAFE is very important to Coronado” 


Coronado SAFE is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide prevention and interventions that improve the emotional and behavioral health of youth in Coronado.  In recent years, anxiety, stress, and depression have risen among the youth population throughout the United States. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) unaddressed behavioral and mental health problems significantly impact the greater community and the best way to reduce the impact of mental and substance use disorders is through prevention and early intervention strategies.[1] Coronado SAFE has a comprehensive approach to these complex issues.


Needs Assessment Participants

Residents and community members from across multiple sectors were part of the needs assessment. Figure 1 below describes those who took part in the interviews (some participants had multiple roles).


Basic Themes

The basic themes that presented themselves throughout the interviews were:

There are many pressures placed on Coronado youth to succeed which contributes to high levels of stress, anxiety, and even depression. Pressures included:

  • Pressure to succeed:
    • Get into the right schools
    • Get the best grades
    • Competition beginning at a very young age
    • Living up to the expectations of the community
    • Peer pressure to fit in

Social Media compounds the pressure placed on the youth of Coronado.

  • Instantly know if they are left out
  • Cyberbullying
  • Comparison to peers’ lifestyle
  • Misuse of social media by adults and parents in the community who should be modeling the correct behavior 

 “There is a lot of pressure to keep up with everyone else and their seemingly glamorous lifestyle that is posted on social media.”    


 Interviewees noted other factors that influence the amount of stress and anxiety seen in the Coronado youth including a perception of hand’s off parenting, current climate across the country, and the presence of the military.

  • Two income parents – kids are sometimes alone between school and when a parent returns home. Some felt this situation causes parents to be laxer in their oversight of their children.
  • Climate in the country concerns many youth – social media gives kids instant and constant information about these topics.
    • Hate-filled rhetoric
    • Terrorism
    • Mass shootings (including school shootings)
  • Proximity to bases and military youth
    • Mobility of youth– military youth are affected by mobility as well as civilian youth who deal with coming and going of friends
    • Knowledge of tragedy and loss (Navy SEALS who grew up in Coronado and family members of students)

 “Social media is a huge cause of stress and anxiety.  It gives people the ability to say mean things to people when you are not in front of them and kids are able to see where everyone is and to see when they are being left out.”    


 100% of interviewees knew of more than one youth in the area exhibiting signs of stress or depression. Although there are resources in the community such as school counselors and private mental health professionals, there were barriers and/or challenges to accessing services or seeking assistance such as:

  • Lack of knowledge
  • Stigma about mental health
  • Small town atmosphere– everyone can see you walk into the counselor   or a private mental health professional
  • Insurance – many health insurances lack support or have insufficient support
  • Family finances – could be they can’t afford or perhaps a parental conflict
  • Long waiting lists to see mental health professionals
  • Not qualifying for some forms of assistance due to parental income

“Even though Coronado is a more affluent community there are still some people struggling financially. Or perhaps there is a divorce and the money is not accessible so they cannot get help for their child.”


Alcohol and/or substance use is an issue among the youth in Coronado. All participants stated they had heard of issues with alcohol or substance use, but the majority mentioned this was information they heard from their children, other parents, and not first-hand knowledge. Some of the topics mentioned included:

  • Affluence could contribute to accessibility of alcohol and drugs
  • A few parents may provide alcohol at parties thinking it is safer than kids obtaining on their own
  • Vaping was a huge issue and a few interviewees mentioned it was going on in the classroom as young as middle school.
  • Some mentioned alcohol and marijuana were ways some kids coped with the stress

"Everything for adults being a party or social event with alcohol has an impact with the kids and their expectations of what a good time is."


90% of the respondents mentioned that Coronado SAFE is vital to the community and the only organization providing important services to educate and make families aware of current issues. Coronado SAFE provides

  • A place where kids and families could connect to counseling resources away from the school or the military environment (more anonymous)
  • Parent coffee meetings which were described as vital because despite the affluence and education level of the residents, some families just did not know about the issues and challenges their children were facing
  • A place within the community to seek assistance by people who are part of the community