Trenton – As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been mounting concern about the social and emotional toll it is taking on our youth. In response, Senator James Beach introduced a five-bill package to improve mental health services in New Jersey schools.
“Mental health has been a growing concern for some time, and the issue has only been exacerbated by the current public health crisis and the move to distance learning,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington/Camden). “We know that our students are most successful when they are healthy, both physically and mentally, and it is important we are able to provide support services whether instruction is remote or in person. This legislation provides a multifaceted approach to improving mental health programs within our schools, to better address issues such as anxiety and depression.”
- S-2715 would establish a grant program to encourage school districts to partner with institutions of higher education in training school-based mental health services providers
- S-2716 would create a “Student Wellness Grant Program” within the New Jersey Department of Education to provide grants that support school districts in implementing school-based programs and practices that promote mental health wellness, social and emotional learning, and student resilience
- S-2717 would require the New Jersey Department of Children and Families to give priority to certain school districts with student mental health counseling centers in awarding grants under the existing School Based Youth Services Program
- S-2718 would establish a “Student Mental Health Task Force” to identify and study resources available to schools and parents to address student mental health needs
- S-2719 would permit certain mental health professionals working in school districts to refer or help facilitate referral of students to private professional counselors