S. 1370 Mental Health in Schools Act of 2017-Increasing Mental Health Awareness in Schools

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Facts:

  • 1 in 5 U.S. children and adolescents have some form of mental health issue (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • 70% of adolescents with mental health problems do not receive care (Journal of Adolescent Health, volume 38)
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24 (National Institute of Mental Health report)
  • The number of students involved in violent incidents decreased by 15% within three years of implementing mental health programs (SAMHSA report)

What is S. 1370: Mental Health in Schools Act of 2017?

S. 1370: Mental Health in Schools Act of 2017 has three main objectives. The first objective is to broaden the scope and increase the funding of the Project AWARE State Educational Agency Grant Program, which advocates for youth mental health throughout schools. The second objective of this policy is to provide comprehensive training for school staff and community service personnel employed by schools. The third objective of this policy includes training for families of children with mental health disorders, community members, and the children affected.

The Mental Health in Schools Act will help students by:

  • Helping provide professional help for the 1 out of 5 youths who suffer from some form of mental illness
  • Addressing mental health problems when students are young, instead of waiting until they have been exposed to drug use, crime, depression, or suicide
  • Saving lives by funding school employed or community employed mental health professionals who help prevent suicide through early identification of at-risk youth and counseling students 

The number of children affected by mental health issues is great, and the cost of counseling them is low – especially compared to the harm caused by suicide, crime, and lifetimes of missed opportunities. With the Mental Health in Schools Act, thousands of children can be assisted with treatable mental health issues, opening up new possibilities for themselves and their families.

As of now, S. 1370 is currently awaiting consideration from the committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions before it will be sent to Senate. To learn more on this bill, go to https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s1370 

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