Pictured: OSEP Director Valerie Williams with CASE Executive Director Phyllis Wolfram
During the Special Education Legislative Summit in Washington DC, national education leaders convened with delegates from forty five states to discuss special education’s most critical issues and prepare these delegates to address these issues with their Congressional representatives. The first issue brief introduced was Mental Health: Building Positive Climates for Learning.
It’s no secret that the youth and adolescents are facing an unprecedented mental health crisis, and the Special Education Legislative Summit featured some of the biggest names in mental health and education (including OSEP Director Valerie Williams, NASP President Celeste Malone, APA Senior Director of Federal Policy Kenneth Polishchuk, and CASES own Policy & Legislative Guru, Myrna Mandlawitz) to address the issue and also provide a plan to drive improvement in student well-being and overall outcomes.
Pictured: Celeste Malone, Myrna Mandlawitz and Kenneth Polishchuk
6 KEY MENTAL HEALTH FACTS
- One in six children have a mental health condition, but only half receive any mental health services.
- From 2019-2020, children with behavior and conduct problem increased by 26%.
- 4.4% of children aged 3-17 (approximately 2.7 million) have diagnosed depression.
- 9.4% of children aged 3-17 (approximately 5.8 million) have diagnosed anxiety.
- 8.9% of children aged 3-17 (approximately 5.5 million) have a diagnosed behavior problem.
- Suicide attempts among 10-12 year olds increased fivefold between 2010 and 2020.
MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE BRIEF OVERVIEW
Now, more than ever, students, educators and schools are in dire need of an expanded mental health support system which allows for more qualified personnel, enhanced programs and resources to address exploding student needs. Congress should embrace an investment in recruiting and retaining school mental health progressional and identifying and implementing evidence-based mental health interventions in all tiers to promote the most successful outcomes for children and youth.
ISSUE BRIEF MAIN POINTS
- School Mental Health Services. Schools and early intervention programs will need to hire additional mental health providers, collaborate with community-based mental health services, and train teachers, early interventionists, and administrators to identify students who need short- and long-term services. This will bolster student well-being as well as academic achievement.
- Recruiting and Retaining High Quality Professionals. Federal investments will help ensure sufficient numbers of mental health professionals specifically trained to meet the need of all children and youth in schools and early intervention settings.
- Addressing Mental Health Needs of Children and Families. Positive school outcomes are a result of caring communities of adults, children and youth learning together. This outcome also requires implementing multi-tiered systems of support, including evidence-based curriculum and intervention within a trauma informed environment.
Because access to mental health services is so vital to the well-being and success of children and you, Congress is also urged to fund mental health services through private health insurance, Medicaid, and programmatic mental health resources to ensure that a comprehensive system is in place to support students and families.
School mental health and community providers should be trained in trauma-informed, culturally responsive interventions and should collaborate, as appropriate.
THE 2022 SELS DELEGATES ASKED CONGRESS TO
- Provide $1 billion for Safe Schools National Activities to increase the amount and quality of mental health services provide.
- Provide $3 billion for ESSA, Title II-A to implement evidence-based mental health interventions.
- Provide $2 billion to fund ESSA, Title IV-A to hire more school-based social workers, counselors and school psychologists.
- Provide $300 million for IDEA, Part D to increase the pipeline of special educators and specialized instructional support personnel.
- Maintain the current structure and funding for Medicaid, which allows for the reimbursement of IDEA services.
- Support legislative policies that increase access to mental health services.
- Support policies and funding for services and community interventions for students dealing with mental health, trauma and emotional issues.
- Support policies and funding that promote prevention and interdisciplinary partnerships among various educational and community organizations to ensure the social and emotional well being of all children.
Pictured: Utah SELS Delegation along with eLuma Team Members
Here at eLuma, we wholeheartedly embrace and support this drive to make Mental Health within K-12 education better. We are proud that we could participate in the grassroots advocacy and will continue to look for ways to make sure that every student has the access to the support they need. We invite you to do the same!