The Legislature Should Provide School Districts Dedicated Funding for Student Mental Health

Parents in Texas are worried about their children’s mental health. Over the past decade, the rates of children and youth in Texas who felt hopelessness, struggled with anxiety or depression, and had thoughts of suicide have risen. When youth are struggling or experiencing trauma or stress, they are not able to engage in learning. Comprehensive mental health strategies are school-wide practices that promote the mental wellness of all students, shield students from risks of developing a mental disorder, and help students with mental health concerns be more successful in school. This can include, for example, having school counselors and school staff who are regularly trained in suicide prevention, or adopting classroom practices that reduce disruptive and unwanted behaviors, such as bullying.

While many school districts are using temporary federal funding to address student mental health, that funding expires in 2024. Currently, Texas does not provide dedicated dollars to school districts for supporting comprehensive mental health strategies. We urge lawmakers to establish and fund a School Mental Health Allotment providing dedicated funds to school districts for mental health and school climate strategies.