SPI urges support of mental health bill
March 28, 2022
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Senator Mike McGuire, D-North Coast, have joined mental health leaders and professionals to urge support of a bill that would provide grants of $25,000 to aspiring clinicians who commit to serving two years in communities of high need. Seeking solutions to lower student-to-counselor ratios in schools is not a new effort or one unique to California. However, through Senate Bill 1229, California is pursuing an ambitious plan to help recruit 10,000 professionals to help support the growing mental health needs of students.
“During this pandemic, our students have experienced extreme levels of depression, we’ve seen a doubling in the percentage of Black students who have expressed suicidal feelings, and we know there’s an increase in hospitalizations for young people and adults,” said Thurmond. “California has had enough mental health professionals to provide services to about 30 percent of those who needed it even before the pandemic, and those challenges were even greater in rural communities.”
Approximately eight million Californians, a majority of them from communities of color, live in areas that have a shortage of behavioral health professionals, said McGuire. Those who receive the grant must commit to a minimum of two years of practice as a mental health professional either in a school district or youth-serving organization. Funding for the grants will come from the state budget.
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