Expand Student Access to Health & Mental Health Resources!
ACTION TYPE: Email State Legislators
Additional Health and Mental Health Professionals in the School Setting
Dear Legislator,As a constituent and someone who cares deeply about the health and well-being of our students, I urge you to pass legislation to expand student access to health and mental health professionals in the school setting.The need for mental health professionals in public schools existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, that need has only grown over the past two years.National studies that examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are revealing that extended periods of isolation and detachment from in-person school settings have significantly given rise to students' feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and contemplation of suicide. Violent acts by students against other students and staff have also been on the rise.Additionally, economic instability, the loss of family members to COVID-19, the inability to resume regular social or school activities and an inability to connect with an adult trained to address their socio-emotional needs are just some of the many contributing factors to the problems and unrest in today's school settings.Students are used to spending a fair amount of time in school, which offers school-based mental health professionals the opportunity to observe, connect with and relate to each member of the student body. When these professionals are in our schools, they are more accessible to students who require or seek their assistance. Students are more likely to access mental health services if they are readily available to them.A student's success in school and beyond may depend on the support they receive early on, by the appropriate mental health professionals.If students are expressing the need to talk to someone and be heard, mental health professionals should be available to support them. It should be noted that for poorer communities, school-based mental health professionals are often the only social workers or psychologists available to them.To ensure that students have access to trained mental health professionals and other critical supports, I urge the Legislature to pass the following bills:S.1969 (Jackson)/A.5019 (Gonzalez-Rojas) - which would increase the number of full-time licensed school psychologists and social workers in our public schools;
S.831 (Gounardes)/A.7473 (Clark) - which would require a school counselor in each public school in New York State; and
S.4782 (Jackson)/A.666 (Cahill) – which would require all public school districts and boards of cooperative educational services to employ at least one registered professional nurse in each school building.The mental health funding grant outlined in the governor's executive budget proposal, coupled with federal American Recovery Plan funds, will help to offset the costs for schools and assist them in their ability to hire the additional health and mental health professionals that our students need and deserve.Therefore, I respectfully ask that you bring up these issues with your conference and advocate for the passage of legislation to increase the number of full-time health and mental health professionals in our public schools. I would greatly appreciate a response to this letter.Sincerely,
(c) 2022 NYSUT
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