Mental Health in Schools Act Essay Sample
As a future Social Worker it is important to be aware of the policies that may impact the community in which we serve. By being aware of these policies a social worker can prepare to provide services to the population for which one serves. A social worker must advocate for the good of the community and the people within that community. As the Mayor of Biloxi you are also in a position where you must advocate for or against policy initiatives for the good of the people for which you serve. Therefore, it is important that you join me in supporting S. 195 or the “Mental Health in Schools Act of 2013.” Part A: Legislation and Political Context: What is the “Elevator Speech” Overview?
The purpose of the Mental Health in Schools Act of 2013 is to amend the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend projects relating to children and violence to provide access to school-based comprehensive mental health programs. This piece of legislation seeks to revise, increase funding for, and expand the scope of the Safe Schools-Healthy Students program in order to provide access to more comprehensive school-based mental health services and supports. It will also provide for comprehensive staff development for school and community service personnel working in the school, and provide for comprehensive training for children with mental health disorders, for parents, siblings, and other family members of such children, and for concerned members of the community.
The Bill was introduced in the Senate on January 31st, 2013 and was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The bill was introduced by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and has 11 Co-sponsors (10 Democrats, 1 Independent), none of which represent any of the four districts in the state of Mississippi. BILL TEXT URL:
http://napolitano.house.gov/sites/napolitano.house.gov/files/images/mental_health_in_schools_act_2011.pdf Part B: Problem Analysis: Why is this Bill/Policy Important? Why Should the Mayor Care? On behalf of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Pamela Hyde testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on “Assessing the State of America’s Mental Health System” January 24, 2013. She stated that, “Half of all lifetime cases of mental and substance use disorders begin by age 14 and three-fourths by age 24.6”. If proper treatment and support services are not provided to people with mental health conditions or substance abuse disorders, they may experience crisis situations which can affect families, schools and communities. Less than one in five children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health and substance use problems receive treatment. That is why last week, the President announced initiatives to ensure that students and young adults receive treatment for mental health issues.
Enacting the Mental Health in Schools Act will make it possible to identify and provide treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues early, before the development of crisis situations, such as the Newtown tragedy. It would also provide us with the resources to help communities understand and implement the prevention approaches proven to be effective in stopping issues from developing in the first place. The social problems this Bill seeks to impact, as stated in the original Bill (Mental Health in Schools Act of 2011) and on Congresswoman Napolitano’s website, “Approximately one in five U.S. children and adolescents have a diagnosable mental disorder.” (American Academy of Pediatrics), Serious emotional or behavioral disorder that is severe enough to cause substantial impairment in functioning at home, at school, or in the community effects approximately one in ten children. It is estimated that seventy-five percent of those children do not receive specialty mental health services.
Formal partnerships with community mental health providers to deliver mental health services are reported in only half the schools across the United States. There must be access to resources that provide family centered, culturally and linguistically appropriate supports and services available if schools are going to respond to the mental health needs of its students. In a recent study one-third of school districts reported decreased funding for school mental health services, and at the same time two-thirds of school districts reported increased need for such services. Seventy percent of adolescents with mental health problems do not receive care (Journal of Adolescent Health, volume 38). Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24 (National Institute of Mental Health report). Among young people aged 10-14 years old, suicide rates have doubled in the last two decades (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). More than half of federal and state prison inmates have a diagnosable mental health problem (U.S. Department of Justice). Children with mental health issues make $10,400 less per year as adults (Journal of Social Science and Medicine).
Four in ten currently unemployed parents say they have seen behavioral changes in their children due to their unemployment (NY Times/CBS Poll). Behavioral and emotional problems decreased among 31 percent of youth with mental health issues after 6 months of receiving mental health care (SAMHSA report) Within one year of entering a mental health program, youth attending school regularly increased from seventy-five percent to eighty-one percent, and those receiving passing grades increased from fifty-five percent to sixty-six percent (SAMHSA report). The number of students involved in violent incidents decreased by fifteen percent within three years of instating mental health programs (SAMHSA report). Sixteen percent of students report lower depression, twenty-one percent lower anxiety, and thirty-eight percent have better behavior after one year (SAMHSA report). Two thirds of school districts reported that the need for mental health services had increased since the previous year, and one third reported that funding for mental health services had decreased in that time (Foster et al., 2005).
State mental health programs were cut nationally by four percent in 2009, five percent in 2010, and at the time of this report were estimated to be cut by more than eight percent in 2011 (Stateline.org July 19 2010). According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness the cuts between 2011 and 2012 amounted to between 10.4 percent in Mississippi and 39.3 percent in South Carolina in ten of the states who made the highest cuts. The Mental Health in Schools Act can assist thousands of children with mental health issues. The cost of counseling them is low compared to the harm caused by suicide, crime, and lifetimes of missed opportunities. Providing the children in our communities with the help they deserve opens up new possibilities for them and their families. Our community is not confined to a geographical area, but to the children in need of the services this Bill will provide.
The Mental Health in Schools Act legislation will ease problems by: providing professional help for youth suffering from mental health issues; addressing mental health problems when students are young instead of waiting until they have drifted into drug use, crime, depression, or suicide; keeping costs low, because mental health costs are very little compared to the costs placed on social services and the prison system when mental health is neglected; saving lives by funding mental health professionals who can identify at-risk youth and counseling students before suicide risk becomes an issue. According to her biography on her webpage, Congresswoman Grace Napolitano has successfully implemented this program within her previous congressional district since 2001. The program is currently operating in 11 local schools. The program has proven to be tremendously successful in helping students overcome mental health issues and improving quality of life for them and their families. The Mental Health in Schools Act seeks to expand this model nationwide to provide more students with the benefits of on-site mental health care. Part C: Existing resources to Deal with Problem
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers many support and education programs for Americans affected by mental illness to help them have a better quality of life. Some of these programs are the NAMI Helpline which is an information and referral service, the Education, Training and Peer support Center which provides free education and support programs for individual, family members, providers and the general public. There are State and Local NAMIs that are made up of volunteer leaders who work in communities across the nation to raise awareness and provide free education, advocacy and support group programs.
While the resources are there, they are not enough to ensure a child gets the proper care. Behavioral health care delivered in a primary care setting can help to minimize discrimination and reduce negative attitude about seeking services. It is believed that this will help alleviate the fear people have about getting mental health treatment and improve overall health outcomes. Increased funding for these programs will make them more available to the people who need them most. It would also be helpful to introduce a community based education program to raise awareness for the already existing resources families have available to them. Part D: Stakeholders: Getting Down to Details
Jurisdiction encompasses most of the agencies, institutes, and programs of the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Administration on Aging, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The Committee also oversees public health and health insurance statutes to address emerging threats and changing patterns in the healthcare industry Some of the groups supporting legislation are: Mental Health at the National Institutes of Health, The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, The National Council for Behavioral Health, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). Other supporters of this legislation might be Teachers Unions, Parent Teacher Organizations, State and National School Board Associations, and the American Federation of Teachers. When the Bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano, a California Democrat, in 2011, most Republicans opposed it due to the cost of implementing the program. The Bill would provide up to $200 million in competitive grants of up to $1 million each. The cost is certainly a concern but even more concerning is the number of children suffering with mental illness.
Editor: National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2013) Retrieved February 16, 2013, from http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?section=Find_Support H.R. 751–112th Congress: Mental Health in Schools Act of 2011. (2011). Retrieved February 16, 2013, from http://napolitano.house.gov/sites/napolitano.house.gov/files/images/mental_health_in_schools_act_2011.pdf Hyde, P. S.: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). Testimony Before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on “Assessing the State of America’s Mental Health System.” Retrieved from http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Hyde1.pdf Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, K. R., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 593–602. Sheryl H. Kataoka, M.D., M.S.H.S.; Lily Zhang, M.S.; Kenneth B. Wells, M.D., M.P.H. (2002) Unmet Need for Mental Health Care Among U.S. Children: Variation by Ethnicity and Insurance Status. Am J Psychiatry; 159:1548-1555. 10.1176/appi.ajp.159.9.1548 S. 195–113th Congress: Mental Health in Schools Act of 2013. (2013). In www.GovTrack.us. Retrieved February 16, 2013, from http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s195
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, NSDUH Series H-45, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4725. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012.