"What is the teacher’s buy-in for mental health? Some teachers would say ‘I didn’t sign up to be a counselor,’ but it is crucial that teachers have training in all these different domains.” -- Christine Toleson, far left at left, president-elect of the California Association of School Psychologists, and school psychologist for foster youth in the LAUSD.
June 4, 2013: President Obama's '13-'14 budget includes $205 million for mental health programs, "including training teachers to recognize signs of mental illness" in students, notes Jane Meredith Adams, posting in this morning's EdSource.
...President Obama on Monday asked teachers to help identify and seek help for children who are suffering from mental health disorders, saying that it was time to bring “mental illness out of the shadows.” ... As one step, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced the launch of a new government website,mentalhealth.gov, to provide information and resources about mental illnesses.
More than 75 percent of mental illnesses, including depression, panic disorder, schizophrenia and anorexia nervosa, emerge when children are school-aged or young adults, Obama noted. But he said that only about half of children who need mental health treatment receive it. The untreated disorders can lead to poor academic performance, behavioral issues in the classroom, social isolation at school, and in the most extreme cases, suicide and violence...
Amy Smith, president of the National Association of School Psychologists, asked U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the White House conference if there was a plan to increase the number of school psychologists. Duncan said that funding depended on passage of the president’s budget and decisions made by school districts themselves. “My hope in asking the question was put the issue on the table,” Smith said in a later interview. “We can’t forget that children are at school all day long. If we can increase the number of providers (of mental health services), we can drastically impact the number of children who need services who will get them.”
Smith said her group advocates a ratio of one school psychologist for every 700 students. While unable to accurately estimate the current ratio of students to school psychologists, she said, “Typically, the ratio is much higher than that.”