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2019- Resolution on the Mental Health of Students

Resolution on the Mental Health of Students

WHEREAS the safety and well-being of Washington students is a high priority of the state;

WHEREAS Governor Inslee’s Proposed 2019-2021 Budget promotes a transformation of the behavioral health system both within education and the broader state framework;

WHEREAS districts have flexibility in developing mental health action plans, including scheduling student-led mental health assemblies and other activities to implement health learning standards;

WHEREAS the State Board of Education recognizes that mental health training for staff is vital as they face the day-to-day task of supporting student mental health needs that often exceed their capacity;

WHEREAS school psychologists and counselors are critical to supporting the needs of students and the average ratio across Washington school districts does not meet the American School Counselor Association recommended ratio of at least one counselor for every 250 students;

WHEREAS mental health is a prevalent challenge for many youth but is often misunderstood by educators and student peers, and research from the National Alliance on Mental Health shows that one in five youth experience mental health issues;

WHEREAS rates of mental health issues, specifically depression, in youth aged 12 to 17 have drastically risen within the last 10 years according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health;

WHEREAS the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention released data from 2017 showing that one person dies by suicide every eight hours in Washington state and that suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15-24;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the State Board of Education will work alongside the Association of Washington Student Leaders to develop a state-wide campaign to significantly improve mental health services in Washington’s K-12 public schools that includes:

  • distribution of a resource list of successful practices in mental health action plans, including a set of foundational components;
  • examination of health learning standards and, if necessary, proposition of new standards or revisions to better support mental health;
  • advocacy for an increase in the number of psychologists, counselors and mental health professionals in schools, consistent with ratios recommended by American School Counselor Association and the needs of students; and
  • recommendation for inclusion of mental health training in professional development for educators;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the State Board of Education will actively engage partner organizations, state legislators, and the Governor to spread awareness and support of mental health action plans.