Missouri House Proposed Bill Aims to Improve Mental Health Resources in Schools | State News

CITY OF JEFFERSON — Missouri House bill 2136 is a proposal for action to better train teachers and schools to prevent suicide among young people and to help students with mental illnesses.

The Missouri Behavioral Health Council submitted written testimony in support of the bill. Its CEO, Brent McGinty, said the organization was involved in shaping the legislation and appreciated the bipartisan support on such an important topic.

“There is no health without mental health,” McGinty said. “We’re starting to realize that all physical health is linked in many ways to mental health, so we need to do a much better job.”

The Missouri chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is also in favor of the bill.

Dr. Maya Moody, a pediatrician in St. Louis and president-elect of the Missouri chapter, said the length of the pandemic has heightened feelings of loneliness and isolation among children and heightened the need for health services. mentality in school.

“Any small step to help promote suicide or mental crisis lines and to have that information ready and available will be a step in the right direction in preventing successful suicides in Missouri,” Moody said.

The text of the bill proposes two major changes. This would provide more training opportunities for teachers to detect warning signs of suicide or serious mental illness. Schools across the state would also be required to print the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on their student IDs, including the soon-to-be-implemented short-dial code: 988.

“Here in Jefferson City, we’ve had cases of suicide with troubled kids,” McGinty said. “It’s so impactful. It’s one of those things that shocks a community, shocks a school, shocks teachers. It’s just a tragedy that families have to deal with. So I think it’s It’s an issue that people are realizing, especially with the increased stress and anxiety around COVID, that it’s something we really need to pay attention to.”

A public hearing on the bill will be held on Monday, March 21 at 11:30 a.m. in Courtroom 7 of the House.

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