Rosen, school districts ask for additional mental health resources

By: - February 10, 2022 1:51 pm

The semicolon has become a symbol of mental health awareness. (Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash)

A Nevada senator and school district superintendents are pushing Congress to expand mental health resources for K-12 students.

Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on Thursday introduced the Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Act. The bill would allow the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to fund and support K-12 school districts. Currently, SAMHSA is only authorized to fund student mental health and suicide prevention efforts at colleges and universities.

Two Nevada school district superintendents expressed their support for the bill.

“As a career educator of 24 years and nearly seven of those as a superintendent, I have never experienced such a heartbreaking mental health crisis as we have now among students, staff and families,” said Wayne L. Workman, superintendent of the Lyon County School District in a statement.

Workman went on to say that the negative effects of the COVID-19 virus “pales in comparison” to the mental health crisis the pandemic has created.

Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara also put out a statement in support, saving the bill “will enable us to seek additional funding to further meet the needs of our children.”

According to a press release, the Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Act would allow SAMHSA to support a variety of efforts, including conducting training programs for students and school staff, and utilizing social media applications and telehealth to conduct suicide risk and mental health screenings.

CCSD has spent a chunk of its federal coronavirus relief money on mental health resources, including spending $761,000 in late 2020 on a platform to monitor data like absences, behavior and academic changes that may be a red flag that something needs to be addressed with a student.

Three pediatric health care associations — the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association — released a joint statement in October declaring a national mental health emergency and calling on federal action.

Rates of mental health concerns and suicide among youth have been on the rise nationally since 2010, said the health organizations.

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, three children and one mutt.