Schools need resources to support student mental health | News, Sports, Jobs

School districts increasingly need to address the mental health needs of their students.

Growing trends in anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide among young people are troubling, and it has become clear that schools need to be prepared to provide services that support the well-being and mental health of our children.

The Bellefonte Area School District is no exception, and we ask the General Assembly to prioritize efforts to promote the mental and emotional health of students and staff.

Meeting the mental health needs of students was a growing concern even before the emergence of COVID 19.

According to the US Surgeon General, before the pandemic, “mental health problems were the leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes among young people, with up to 1 in 5 children aged 3 to 17 in the United States with a mental, emotional, developmental disorder. , or behavioral disorder.

Concerns about the mental health of children and adolescents have been heightened by the pandemic. Recent incidents of school violence have drawn attention to mental health issues and the urgency of addressing these situations. In many cases, schools become the primary support for these students.

Superintendent Tammie Burnaford notes that, “We continue to see students in crisis and an increase in student disciplinary issues. There doesn’t seem to be more funding in our schools for mental health wellness, but we are trying to better understand how our staff can help students. (May 21, 2022)

Our public schools must provide a variety of mental health services, and these must be built on a solid foundation of effective school programs, coupled with access to trained professionals, including administrators and educators, school psychologists, school social workers, school counselors and other mental health professionals. health professionals.

Like most school districts in the state, the Bellefonte Area School District faces extraordinary challenges.

Building and sustaining quality school mental health systems requires support from both the local community and the state.

We urge the General Assembly to pass Bill 2468, introduced by Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Allegheny).

This legislation would provide schools with grants specifically aimed at student mental health. For example, grants could be used to hire additional counsellors, social workers, school psychologists and other mental health personnel.

Additionally, these funds could be used to secure contracts for external mental health services to provide needed counseling and crisis intervention services to students, as well as training for our teachers and specific staff. students’ mental health needs and challenges.

The mental and emotional health of students impacts their ability to learn, the safety and security of our schools, the classroom environment for students, and the work environment for teachers and staff.

The Bellefonte Area School District is calling on the state to prioritize adequate funding for efforts to promote the mental and emotional health of students. House Bill 2468 would support these businesses.

Written by Bellefonte School Board member Dr. Marie Perini, this op-ed was submitted on behalf of fellow board members Jeff Steiner, Jon Guizar, Andrea Royer, Jack Bechdel, Nate Campbell, Donna Smith, Julie Fitzgerald and Kimberly Weaver.

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