Florida Mandates Mental Health Learning In Schools
The new law now requires Florida state schools to provide students with courses that can help them to identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness, find resources if they are battling with issues and teach them how to help peers who are struggling with mental health problems. If you are affected by anything touched on within this article, follow the links to our various support services or click on the blue logo icon at the bottom right of the screen to start using Cybersmile Assistant, our smart AI support assistant.
Florida has recently joined nine other states in mandating mental health education for schools. The change has been championed by Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis who spent three months travelling to schools in the state in an effort to understand more about student and parental concerns regarding mental health. Following discussions with the First Lady, the state Board of Education proposed the changes which were adopted after a unanimous vote.
“We know that 50 percent of all mental illness cases begin by age 14, so we are being proactive in our commitment to provide our kids with the necessary tools to see them through their successes and challenge.”
Casey DeSantis, First Lady, Florida
The new law now requires Florida state schools to provide students with courses that can help them to identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness such as anxiety and depression, find resources if they are battling with issues and teach them how to help peers who are struggling with mental health problems. Schools will be able to choose from a number of topics laid out by the new instruction, which also include cyberbullying, suicide prevention and the impact of substance abuse.
“Obviously, this is going to help students who are currently suffering from mental health issues, you know, thoughts of suicide, attempts of suicide. But the thing that is going to be the best thing is that it is going to reduce the stigma and it is going to educate the other healthy students who can identify folks within their peer group who are going through this.”
Ben Gibson, Florida Board of Education member
Florida are not alone in addressing this issue, joining nine other states that have already mandated mental health education by state law. Three more states, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina, also look set to make legal changes having all recently submitted proposals to state educators to mandate mental health learning.
“It is going to be a life-saver and it will reduce the stigma.”
Richard Corcoran, Florida Education Commissioner
With more than 6 million children in the U.S. having a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, according to data from Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and with suicide being identified as the second most common cause of death for 15-19 year-olds in the U.S, the momentum towards mandating mental health education in schools is being welcomed by teachers and state educators across the U.S.
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