$30M Approved for Mental Health Services in Mich. Schools
The money will be used to help students who do not have access to mental health services in their communities.
Late last year, Former Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that approved $30 million for school mental health services in Michigan schools.
Michigan’s lack of school-based mental health providers and school nurses is one of the worst in the nation, according to a report by the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan (SCHA-MI).
The report said 27 percent of Mich. youth experience symptoms of depression, 16 percent have considered suicide, 25 percent have been bullied at school and 19 percent have been victims of cyberbullying.
Michigan’s ratio of students to school nurses is also the worst in the nation.
“Lots of kids at schools don’t have access to mental health services,” said Debbie Brinson, executive director of the SCHA-MI. “Establishing mental health services in school health centers is long overdue.”
The funding will help more than 1,500 schools with students who are not getting the mental health help that they require, reports Crain’s Detroit Business.
Brinson has been an advocate for improving mental health services for the past 10 years. She says the mass shootings of 2018 – like Marjory Stoneman Douglas – escalated the long, slow process.
Following the shooting, students met with legislators to discuss increasing mental health services to reduce school violence, according to the SCHA-MI.
“Safety means that you should be protected at all times,” said Courtney, a student from Benton Harbor High School. “Mental health makes school safer because there are counselors and they are here to help them with their problems.”
“School safety means knowing that I don’t have to worry about staying safe in school, when I should be learning,” another student said.
Approximately $5 million of the funds will be used to hire additional licensed mental health care providers in adolescent health centers. They will be placed in areas of the community that have no access to mental health services.
Intermediate school districts will work with local school systems to set up mental health programs and create behavioral health assessment teams. The teams will focus on providing age-appropriate interventions.
“In 10 years, I want to look back and see that a system of care has been established within the schools that support access to an array of health services for children and adolescents,” said Brinson.
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