Friday, March 22, 2013

APA Supports Senate Bill on Student Mental Health

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has introduced a bill to provide support for teachers to learn about the key warning signs of mental health problems in students as well as the impact that mental health conditions can have on a student's ability to learn and behave in the classroom. The Helping Educators Support All Students Act would create a four-year discretionary grant for state education agencies to provide training for teachers and other school staff in recognizing mental health issues. Training could be provided by qualified specialized instructional school personnel or in partnership with a community mental health program.

In a letter sent to Klobuchar today, APA Medical Director and CEO James H. Scully Jr., M.D., expressed APA's support for the bill, saying the initiative "paves the way for highly successful and evidence-based training empower more of these professionals with the knowledge of mental illness, the ability to detect warning signs, and the ability to take appropriate action in linking adolescents to the services they need." Read Scully's letter here.

The American Psychiatric Foundation's "Typical or Troubled?" school mental health program is already training school personnel to recognize students who show signs of having a mental health problem or psychiatric disorder and refer them for treatment. The Miami-Dade County public school system has recently adopted this program for use in all of its public middle and high schools. Read more about how the program is being used here.



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