Pupils in kindergarten to 12th grade suffer from mental health issues which derail their progress in academic and at the same time affect their social life. They struggle to cope with the school environment which is characterized by misunderstanding from teachers, employees and other pupils. In that light, these children end up dropping out of school, running to the streets and lead a hard life. Need to identify the basic issues with children in their early school life can aid in offering the relevant support that can turn around their interaction and perception of life. The issue of unnoticed mental health issues in pupils is prevalent globally, and it requires special attention from all stakeholders. Approval of bills that advocate for the health examination of children in kindergarten to 12th grade for mental cases and referring them for support provides a framework for support of the children.
Thousands of pupils suffer from mental health cases which go unnoticed. School employees and staffs lack sufficient knowledge on detection of the possible signs of the mental cases in pupils and therefore, the pupils end up suffering silently. The pupils who fall victims of undetected mental issues are common victims of school dropout, addiction, suicide, homelessness along with other tragic effects of the mental effects. According to CLI., (2018), one in every five young people is faced with mental health problems. This calls for help to curb the effects in the children. However, two-thirds of the young generation get access to significant help to alleviate the effects of the problem. Most of the affected children are subject to early substance abuse, self-mutilation, expulsion from schools and enrollment in juvenile justice systems. Despite a couple of vulnerable youths enrolling in specialized programs, most of the pupils with mental problems are enrolled in regular classrooms. These children require special skills and attention to allow them to interact effectively with others in the school setting (Booth et al., 2017). However, educators in both the specialized units and regular classrooms lack the training to enable them to identify, refer and advance adequate help to the affected pupils in managing the mental health barriers in their daily life. The detrimental part of unidentified mental problems in pupils is an accumulation of stress in staffs and educators as well as being overwhelmed by the challenges the pupils face.
The proposed bill promotes early identification of the mental health problems in pupils, refer, coordinate and allow access to quality intervention services by the certified employees and classified staffs (Kelly, 2018). The bill proposes for in-service training that runs concurrently with the working schedule that will equip the employees and staffs with the basic knowledge and skills of detecting mental health issues in pupils at an early stage. The bill covers a wide range of stakeholders which include state government, school administrators, and staffs. Additionally, the schools and families will be impacted on by the bill to enhance the efficiency in detection and intervention of the mental problems in pupils as well as reducing the stigma accompanied with the mental issues. The state needs to allocate funds for the in-service training while the staffs and employees need to adjust to the schedule and comprehend relevant details to aid in helping the children in need (Kelly, C. (2018). Family members are expected to device family-oriented services along with school-based support to enhance referral follow up in improving the mental health of the pupil. The federal government also contributes to the training programs in county offices of education as well as school districts. This is facilitated through the funding of pilot programs in mental health training.
According to National PTA. (2018), most children with mental health problems are victims of misdiagnosis or miss intervention due to lack of diagnosis. In this light, the National Parents, Teachers Association (PTA) supports policies by the federal government, states as well as local governments that encourage services to help children with mental problems to reach their full potential and live happily to adulthood. According to National PTA, outreach and education to parents, families and relevant groups can advocate for the meeting the children's mental health needs. Center for disease control points out that the tendency in mental health in children indicates a serious deviation from the cognitive, emotional and social development of children which result into pile up in anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and abuse of the substance. The mental health problems in children may manifest the first symptoms at the age of 14. Children and youths spend most of their time in school settings making them a strategic connection point in administering prevention and intervention models to mental health services and allow for a swift connection with students and families of the affected children. Dealing with the mental health issues in children requires dedication of resources to provide for early intervention and prevention can impact on the behavioral and mental requirements before accelerating to detrimental state in academic, social and emotional behavior (National PTA., 2018), Joint efforts between parents, school administrations and other relevant stakeholders can turn around the outcome in the pupil mental health conditions. Consequently, the general interaction with staffs, employees, and other pupils is improved and the living standard of the affected pupils realizes a significant rise.
The bill proposes in-service training to all staffs and employees in the first six weeks of each school year to organized as part of regular staff meetings in each school district, county office of education and charter school (CLI., 2018). The training is proposed to be advanced to certified employees who guide and provide instructions to pupils from kindergarten to grade 12 as well as classified staffs who come in contact with pupils on a regular basis. The basis of the training is to provide the certified employees and classified staffs with the knowledge to initiate early identification of mental health issues in pupils in these grades in schools. Additionally, the bill proposes the referral protocols for appropriate services to the mental conditions of the pupils. The key stakeholders bound to the bill include the school districts, charter schools and county offices of education and are mandated to provide training sessions in an online format away from the staff meeting.
Additionally, the training schedule to be adopted with the normal working hours. The bill provides for the provision of the in-service training as a way forward to impact on improved outcomes of the mental health status of pupils (CLI., 2018). According to the bill, the funds to be used for the training should be obtained from federal and state sources. However, the bill discourages the diagnosis or treatment as well as acting outside the granted authority in handling the mental health issues of the pupils.
The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup are the key promoters of the bill convened by Tom Torlakson, the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The promoters recommend the promotion of early identification of the mental health issues in pupils to allow for referral and coordination for quality services to the pupils with mental health problems (O'Malley et al., 2018). In the case of the passing of the bill, the mental health of the pupils will be improved with the reduction in stigma and referrals.
The wellbeing of pupils through early identification, intervention, and treatment are the fundamental goals of the bill. However, facilitation of the training programs may incur the state and the local government more resources and therefore making the program expensive than expected. Changes in any organization are met with mixed reactions. Regardless of the main agenda of the in-service training to the certified staffs and classified employees, the training program may be received with rejection and tension from the staffs and employees. This may lead to ineffective functioning of the program.
Additionally, administration of online training sessions in different meetings over different dates may be difficult to handle with the institutions adopting different meeting schedules effectively. Despite the bill advocating for the elimination of stigma in affected pupils, the resultant identification can result in stigma from fellow pupils and teachers making the child struggle to cope with further studies. Loss of confidence can be experienced. Additionally, the intervention strategy may call for the enrollment of pupils in special needs schools. This may result in diminished confidence and change in the social and emotional interaction with the other children and hence fail to administer the best support to the child and accelerate the condition. Some pupils may take it as a sign of rejection and therefore lead to struggling comprehension of the accorded intervention mechanism. The passing of law may lead to tension between different stakeholders such as the educational administrators, school administrators staffs and employees over the training program. This can be coupled with differences in the implementation time of the in-service training in various institutions.
Regardless of the wide acceptance of the bill by majoring of stakeholders and the public, the bill has not been acclaimed universally. Those opposed to the bill include the Conservative fiscal groups the Little Hoover Commission and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (Abramsky et al. 2018). According to the Howard Taxpayers Association, the enactment of the bill will lead to an increase in taxation on the wealthier California citizens. On the other hand, the Little Hoover Commission points out that assessing the results of the success stories of effective functioning in the reduction of mental issues. Others infer that the bill may also lead to under protection of some of the vulnerable groups.
Improving the life of pupils early enough in their school days can improve the quality of life of children living silently with mental health conditions. Therefore, facilitation of screening for mental health cases, referral, diagnosis, and treatment should part of the health insurance plans for the K-12 pupils. Therefore, passing the bill which will facilitate effective screening for mental illnesses in pupils in various institutions can aid improving the mental health cases that go unnoticed in most pupils. Basing on the sensitive and the detrimental effects of undiagnosed mental health effects in pupils, the education department along with health department should work together in administering effective health promotion programs to help improve the health conditions of the affected children. Support to student's health should be a critical role of the state's government, institutions, advocates, affiliates, and parents through training sessions that cover all the parties that have direct contact with the pupils. The coordination of all parties in the implementation of the act in case the bill is enacted can realize great results in helping affected children cope and live elated life to adulthood.
Abramsky, S., Raden, B., & Thompson, G. (2018). Uncovered California: Community College Students' Quest for Mental Health Services. Retrieved from https://capitalandmain.com/uncovered-california-community-college-students-seek-mental-health-services-0629
Booth, A., Scantlebury, A., Hughes-Morley, A., Mitchell, N., Wright, K., Scott, W., & McDaid, C. (2017). Mental health training progra...
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