Support Student Support Act: Tell your Member of Congress to Support Increasing Student Access to Mental Health Services and Co-Sponsor the Student Support Act
February 6, 2013
In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, CT, President Obama outlined his recommendations to reduce and prevent gun violence. Included in his recommendations, he highlighted the need to provide students with greater access to mental health services. According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, one in ten children and adolescents suffers from mental illness severe enough to cause some level of impairment, while only about one in three students who need treatment actually receive it. The consequences can be devastating to the children, families, and communities when mental illness goes undiagnosed and untreated.Each year, thousands of social workers serve students in school settings across the country, yet the distribution of social workers is uneven and inadequate. Some districts have a social worker to student ratio of as much as 1:400 which is nearly two times greater than the recommended maximum level of 1:250, per the NASW Standards for School Social Work Services. Similar professions such as school counselors or school psychologists experience the same issue. Due to these staggering ratios, students often do not get the services they need.
On January 18, 2013 Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-9), Chair of the Congressional Social Work Caucus, introduced H.R. 320, the Student Support Act, as she has done since the 110th Congress. This bill aims to increase student access to mental health services by providing grants to states to hire additional school social workers, psychologists, and counselors in order to reduce the student-to-provider ratio in elementary and secondary schools. This bill effectively addresses the shortage of mental health providers in schools and provides schools with flexibility to meet the mental health needs of their students.
Please contact your member of Congress today. Tell them to increase student access to mental health services in schools and become a co-sponsor of H.R. 320, the Student Support Act.