To the Editor:
I agree with the Inside School Research blog post “Partnership Explores Role of Student Mental Health in Classroom Management” (www.edweek.org, April 10, 2016), but I would push the issue a few steps further: It is important to explore possible K-12 mental-health interventions through the newly legislated Every Student Succeeds Act.
K-12 students are in dire need of immediate mental-health interventions to help with issues they face daily, such as depression, anxiety, obsession, and addiction.
Mental-health interventions help students by building coping skills to address social and emotional problems. If mental-health issues are addressed early, coping strategies can also help improve students’ academic success and decrease truancy. In addition, funding mental-health interventions at the K-12 school level would help as an early intervention to potentially limit the cost of future mental-health services. In 2002, the World Health Organization estimated that mental illnesses cost the United States $300 billion per year.
ESSA provides opportunities for K-12 school districts to apply for grants to help develop a “well rounded” education for all students. The grants are available to provide programs that could include counseling, conflict resolution, evidence-based drug and violence prevention, bullying and harassment prevention, healthy- and active-lifestyle support, relationship-building skills, child-sexual-abuse awareness, and mental-health support.
Matthew J. Samocki
A version of this article appeared in the August 24, 2016 edition of Education Week as ESSA Grants Could Fund K-12 Mental-Health Support