Six Questions State Boards Should Ask about Student Mental Health
Throughout the pandemic, concerns about students’ mental health have rightfully dominated many conversations on state boards of education. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that emergency department visits related to mental health increased 24 percent for 5- to 11-year-olds and 31 percent for 12- to 17-year-olds during the pandemic. Parents also expressed concerns, with 65 percent saying they worry about their child’s emotional well-being, and 73 percent reporting they are at least somewhat likely to demand that their child’s school provide better support for mental health and emotional well-being.
In October 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health. In December 2021, the U.S. surgeon general issued an advisory on protecting youth mental health, calling for an all-of-society effort.
State boards have often considered actions to promote student mental health: improved mental health education, access to school psychologists, medical service referrals, screenings, educator training in mental health first aid, and suicide prevention plans. …