School-based mental health efforts are critical for meeting educational goals:
They boost academic performance by addressing challenges that get in the way of student learning.
They improve classroom behavior and reduce suspensions.
They support teachers, reducing the stressful classroom management difficulties they face as a result of challenging student behavior.
School-based mental health efforts are also critical for meeting mental health goals:
They address "smaller" challenges — counseling a child after a death in the family, for example, or giving kids tools for managing conflict, anger, and anxiety — before they grow into bigger issues that can result in suicide attempts or other destructive behavior that reveals the need for psychiatric treatment.
They are located where kids spend their time, where their challenges often become apparent, and where it's easiest to connect them to support.
They reduce the chances that schools will unintentionally make student mental health worseby allowing bullying to fester, using counterproductive discipline strategies, or retraumatizing students who already experienced childhood trauma.
They complement the psychiatric treatment that students with higher needs receive outside of school.
For a better understanding of one way that schools can provide student mental health support, and what it can mean for students, take a look at our short video about Ijah's story:
We'll be at the Public Health Committee hearing today to support these important bills, and we encourage all Texans to raise their voices in support of student mental health to help Texas kids like Ijah be healthy, succeed in school, and reach their potential.