Lack of Mental Health Support Costs Michigan Students Big – The Oakland Press

Prior to 2018, Michigan’s budget had no financial support for student mental health programs.

According to education advocates, this lack of investment comes at the price of being unable to succeed in the classroom as students continue to struggle to learn how to navigate their lives inside and outside the classroom. .

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2022 KIDS COUNT data book, 242,000 children in Michigan suffer from anxiety and depression. The state ranks 32nd in overall child happiness and 40th in education, with an increase of 22,000 children since 2016. This seems to illustrate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how decades of underinvestment in youth mental health services are affecting children.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2016 and 2020 National Child Health Survey, 13.5% of Michigan youth ages 3 to 17 reported feelings of anxiety or depression. I’m here.

Looking ahead to 2023, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state legislators will use $7 billion in surplus funds to fund a record $19.6 billion education budget, including investments to support mental health services for students. agreed to provide

Raises state aid per student from $8,700 to $9,150, the highest in state history, while the budget directs nearly $250 million to student mental health services to help students navigate life in and out of the classroom Allows you to learn how.

This includes $150 million to assist school districts with mental health needs to hire support staff, implement screening tools, and provide behavioral health counseling for school personnel. increase. $50 million for school districts implementing the Transforming Research Into Action (TRAILS) program, which provides training and resources to help school staff address the mental and emotional health needs of students. $25 million to open on-campus mental health centers and 100 school-based health clinics. $25 million to increase mental health grants to middle school districts to hire mental health professionals and set up school-based mental health centers.

Also included is $214 per student in funds for mental health and school safety for all students in all public school districts. statewide.

For decades, Diane Gorzinski, director of health and nutrition at the Michigan Department of Education, said the state does not include mental health funds in its education budget.

“Before 2018, the only mental health thing for our kids was the federal grants we could secure, often just one or two districts at a time. ‘ she said.

The department is currently developing a statewide strategic education plan for the physical and mental health of Michigan’s youth, Golzynski said. The state’s 2023 budget aligns with the plan’s various goals, said State Education Superintendent Michael Rice.

children of michigan

Monique Stanton, CEO of the Michigan Public Policy Federation, said the state falls short when it comes to meeting the overall well-being and mental health needs of Michigan students.

“I think what stands out most in Michigan is that when it comes to the mental health of Michigan children ages 3 to 17, it’s actually getting worse…an additional 22,000 Michigan children are suffering… their mental health…that’s pretty important.”

This year’s KIDS COUNT data book highlights that children here and across the country are facing a mental health crisis, suffering unprecedented levels of anxiety and depression.

Stanton said that while the budget now goes a long way to addressing the youth mental health crisis, there are long-term and sustainable He said that we need to make significant investments.

“What we don’t want is that after a few years we can’t continue these programs because we had to withdraw the funding after making so much investment in student mental health,” she said. Told.

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