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.
To improve student mental health, the Foundation recommends the following policies:
- Ensure every child has access to the mental health care they need, when and where they need it. The school will increase the presence of social her workers, psychologists, and other mental health professionals on staff to meet her student-to-counselor ratio of 250 to 1 recommended by the American School of Counselors Association. should try.
- Strengthen mental health care that considers children’s experiences and identities. It should be trauma-related information, designed to facilitate the child’s healing and emotional safety, and be culturally relevant to the child’s life.
Dr. Paul Salah, superintendent of Huron Valley Schools, said the district is seeing more behavioral health problems these days, but students’ mental health and emotional learning needs are growing. has supported This includes hiring resident counselors, behavior interventionists, psychologists, and social he workers in all secondary buildings.
The school district recently received $700,000 in one-time support for student mental health.
Salah said the school district hasn’t decided what to do with the funding, but it does know it can maintain its status as a behavioral professional and double its behavioral intervention support staff.
“The recent budget adopted by Congress was the biggest investment seen in public education in my entire career,” he said. “We need a sustainable dollar, not a one-off. We thank you for funding next year’s budget and ask Congress to continue to invest in our future with money that will not run out this year and beyond.
Auckland School Superintendent Wanda Cook Robinson says ISD will continue to use all available resources to help students cope with their emotional well-being as they navigate post-pandemic challenges He wanted the Oakland County education community to know that.
A significant portion of the state’s education budget is the $50 million allocated for the TRAILS program.
The program operates in approximately 700 schools statewide, including several schools in Oakland County.
Elizabeth Koschmann, founder and director of TRAILS, said the $50 million investment will help the program reach more schools and students, better address mental health challenges, and help the state improve youth mental health. said it will help the country emerge as a leader in responding to the global crisis.
Koschmann’s clinical specialty is psychiatry, specifically using cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices to treat depression, anxiety and PTSD in children and adolescents.
“We need to give these children the tools to navigate the highly complex world they are growing up in. I think we’ve done a great job of pushing an agenda that puts it clearly at the forefront of our priority list.The demand for mental health services is huge, and we finally have the funds to support some of that employment.”
Teachers and school administrators need access to training and other resources to connect children to the right kind of intervention, Koschmann said.
“We’re really thinking about how we address mental health needs in schools when there aren’t enough mental health professionals,” she said. I never try to prepare myself to be, but I absolutely hope that the adults in my classroom can recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and be able to teach my students to build … themselves. Awareness of how they are doing.”
Stanton said the program is important because teachers in Michigan interact with students on a daily basis.
“They may have a tendency to hear or see the child struggling first-hand, or to think something is wrong,” she said.
There are several programs that streamline the behavioral therapy treatment process so that children can focus more on being a student than on their mental state.
Scott Hutchins, a school mental health and Medicaid consultant for the state Department of Education, said the state has made Behavioral Health Works, a behavioral health software program, available to school mental health providers statewide. rice field. The program is run by a secondary school district and allows schools to screen students in secret and streamline communication with families and school staff to improve mental health outcomes for students.
In addition to depression, trauma, anxiety, substance use and eating disorders, this program’s screening assessment reveals risk of self-harm, violence and suicide.
Another planned program, Behavioral Health Learning Collaborative, is a statewide online crisis platform that provides real-time mental health information to administrators, teachers, mental health professionals and parents. The platform will enable schools, mental health, healthcare, and government agencies to work together to identify and support at-risk students.
Hutchins said the joint effort will create a comprehensive statewide system to reduce youth suicide and meet other mental health needs.
Gorzinski said state legislators should create a comprehensive school mental health system that connects students to appropriate mental and emotional health resources if they are not succeeding in the classroom. I said we need to look at how the state builds.
“I think this initial funding will allow schools to start building these systems,” she said. These systems look at sustainable long-term mental health solutions. “