Include Our Youngest Kids As Texas Communities Utilize New Student Mental Health Resources


There is a growing recognition that all Texas children — whether in child care, pre-k, other early elementary grades, or beyond — benefit from school-based support for student mental health and positive school climates. These efforts include helping all children develop strategies to manage frustration, anxiety, and conflict and providing more robust services to children with greater needs. Recognizing that student mental health support is key to improving academics, behavior, health, and safety, the 2019 Texas Legislature passed a number of new laws to strengthen these efforts. This guide briefly summarizes those new laws and outlines ways to leverage them to support the mental health of our youngest students: those in child care, pre-k, and early elementary school grades. This guide offers recommendations for school districts, state agencies, and communities, first addressing schools and then addressing child care. The final section offers recommendations to families and community leaders.