Federal News in Brief

Mental-Health Bill to Address Students

By Alyson Klein — January 29, 2013 1 min read

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said last week that he plans to introduce legislation that would codify many of the Obama administration’s recommendations on improving student mental health.

The administration put forward a package of proposals calling for new federal dollars to cover the cost of training programs to help teachers recognize mental illness early and get students the help they need, as well as money to help schools better coordinate with local mental-health organizations and government agencies.

The proposals are intended to respond to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month.

Mr. Franken’s comments came during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on mental health. And experts, including the National Institutes of Health’s Thomas Insel, told the committee that schools don’t have enough access to mental-health professionals, including child psychiatrists.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the panel, added school psychologists to that list.

A lack of support for mental-health interventions can cause academic problems for students as well, Mr. Harkin added.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 30, 2013 edition of Education Week as Mental-Health Bill to Address Students

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