(GTU) – Several new mental health support mechanisms are poised to launch through a state initiative aimed at more definitively addressing mental health concerns among Utah students. One of the many recipients of the School-based Mental Health Grant, Washington County School District joined Good Things Utah to tell us how the new funding is helping them better manage mental health issues amongst their student population.
About the School-based Mental Health Qualified Grant Program
Funding for these programs originates from the School-based Mental Health Grant, a bill introduced in the Utah State legislature by Rep. Steve Eliason and Senator Ann Milner. The bill gives mental health professionals an improved ability to support students in need with one assessment and four additional sessions to address mental health needs.
The Utah State Board of Education distributes money to local education agencies to provide, in a school, targeted school-based mental health support, including clinical services and trauma-informed care, through employing or entering into contracts for services provided by qualifying personnel.
The bill also set standards for participating Local Education Agencies to implement approved Mental Health Screening Programs for students. An application is required to conduct mental health screenings in any form. Additionally, the Utah State Board of Education in consultation with the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health completed a list of mental health conditions for which to screen that has been approved by the board.
Last school year the program allowed 150 elementary, 90 Intermediate, 45 Middle, and 55 high school students a total of 340 students were able to get their mental health needs to be addressed.
With COVID-19 still hanging around, kids are now more likely to withdraw and isolate themselves from their friends and let relationships with parents dissipate. There is also a rise in kids failing to get proper nutrition. When kids don’t eat right sleeping patterns also tend to get thrown out of balance; this is also due in part to the increased stress of returning to school. When kids show signs of anxiety and depression markers it’s worth reaching out and getting support.
These programs are removing an ugly and damaging stigma from the arena surrounding mental health management; It’s okay to seek help and find treatment and kids should feel empowered to do so.
To find out more visit Washington County School District now.
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