AFT endorses new legislation to help students obtain mental health services 

In January, the bipartisan Expanding Mental Health Services Access in Schools Act was introduced in Congress. This bill would create multiple grant programs that schools could apply for to access mental health services funding and would be accessible to millions of students across Texas. 

After endorsing the bill, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said

“Students today are experiencing unprecedented levels of trauma, anxiety and stress, a crisis that impacts their ability to learn and do well in school. That crisis is exacerbated by social media companies profiting off addicting young people, and the reality that too many school districts don’t have the staff and resources to meaningfully address mental wellbeing, leaving educators and school staff triaging to support students who need dedicated mental health professionals. Robust mental health services in schools should be the norm, not the exception, and the Expanding Access to Mental Health Services in Schools Act gets us one step closer to achieving that goal.” 

This is more important than ever, as studies have shown that well over 60% of students have reached out for mental health services in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. By hiring more social workers, counselors, and psychologists via the grant funding, school districts will be able to invest more into their students and help foster a greater school community. 

To take action and voice your support for the Expanding Mental Health Services Access in Schools Act, you can use the Network for Public Education Action to write to your legislators. Additionally, The Check-in Project has resources for teachers in order to help students with mental health issues, as well as how to make your classroom a safe space.