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Bill Would Bring More Mental Health Practitioners To Schools
graphic Harder

In action on Thursday, Feb. 10, Representative Josh Harder introduced a bill, the Improving Mental Health in Schools Act, which will allow more mental health practitioners to work in schools across the Central Valley. Right now, an omission in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 prevents highly trained mental health practitioners like Marriage Family Therapists (MFTs), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) and Clinical Psychologists from working in public schools. Rep. Harder’s bill will amend the law to allow these critical professionals to work in Valley schools directly with kids and families as specialized instructional support personnel.

According to a 2021 survey of California students from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California: 63 percent of students said they’d had an emotional meltdown in the past year; 43 percent of students reported a panic or anxiety attack; 22 percent of students said they’d missed three or more days of school due to mental health; and 19 percent of students reported suicidal thoughts.

“The mental health of our kids and teenagers is a crisis right now and we need to do everything we can to support them. That’s why my bill will get more therapists, social workers, and psychologists directly into our schools,” said Rep. Harder. “Early intervention is critical when it comes to youth mental health. Let’s reach our kids right now so the struggles they’re experiencing today don’t turn into lifelong and chronic challenges.”