Giving Compass’ Take:
• As the conversation around mental health continues to gain momentum, Governing magazine reports that states are beginning to adopt mental health lessons into their curriculum, with New York and Virginia making it mandatory.
• How can schools provide more support for students suffering from mental health issues through counseling and professional services? What role does teacher training play?
As students across the country start a new school year, some will be learning about mental health for the first time.
In two states, New York and Virginia, public schools are now required to incorporate mental health into their curriculum. New York’s law, which took effect July 1, applies to elementary, middle and high schools. In Virginia, the state is developing standards for integrating mental health education into ninth and 10th grade — the age when half of mental illnesses start cropping up.
These laws come at a time when teen suicide rates have doubled among girls and risen 30 percent among boys in recent years. At the same time, the stigma surrounding mental health is lessening — though still prevalent — in part because of the opioid epidemic, which has more people talking openly about addiction and mental health.
The New York law leaves it up to schools to craft what the curriculum looks like.
“What we’re not doing is teaching Psychology 101. It’s a public health approach to teach kids more about when they or someone close to them is experiencing a mental health crisis,” says John Richter, director of public policy at the Mental Health Association in New York state, which is helping educators create lessons that are scientifically accurate and trauma-informed. The bill allocated funds for the creation of the School Mental Health Resource and Training Center that Richter’s organization will run.
Read the full article about mental health in schools by Mattie Quinn at Governing magazine.
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