Mental health issues have reached a critical point for children and youth, who face huge challenges in our culture of bullying, internet and social media, academic demands, peer pressure, and substance abuse. It is not surprising so many suffer emotional and mental health issues. It is surprising that we do not provide nearly sufficient resources to deal with these issues in where they spend most of their time, with hundreds of others their age with the same issues, and where most of these pressures come to bear–school. Colorado has become the “poster child” for school shootings, with one of the highest teen suicide rates.
I support removing police from schools, gun safety initiatives from Moms Demand Action, and myriad other actions on both a large and small scale, to make schools as emotionally safe as possible, which keeps them physically safe and better learning environments. However, being students does not make their mental health needs the sole responsibility of the schools, which are busy meeting their educational needs.
It would be more effective and efficient if mental health professionals who deal with children and youth staffed the schools, where they would be more accessible, rather than holding clinic hours in medical facilities where they are not. If police departments can justify placing personnel in schools, why can’t our community mental health departments and agencies? I will work with legislators to address this issue so we serve our children’s emotional needs without draining the resources for their educational needs.