Florida Board of Education Requires Public Schools to Provide Mental Health Education for Students

A new mandate in Florida now requires public schools to provide a minimum of five hours of mental health education for students, beginning in the sixth grade. The state Board of Education approved the widely lauded policy on Wednesday.

“We know that 50 percent of all mental illness cases begin by age 14, so we are being proactive in our commitment to provide our kids with the necessary tools to see them through their successes and challenges,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis, according to the Orlando Sentinel. DeSantis has been instrumental in getting the new policy passed and says, “Providing mental health instruction is another important step forward in supporting our families.”

Casey DeSantis and Hope for Healing

DeSantis has prioritized addressing the issue of mental health in the state of Florida. She recently launched the Hope for Healing initiative, which will examine the state’s spending when it comes to substance abuse and mental health. Another goal of the initiative is to help Florida residents be aware of the mental health resources available to them. “Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know what’s out there,” she said.

Speaking to The Florida Times-Union, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran described the benefits the new mental health training will have for students, saying, “We’re going to have a tremendous amount of awareness and just common sense solutions. So if all of a sudden a friend comes to school and starts talking about serious negative thoughts about their life, [the student] knows exactly how to handle it, what to say and where to go.” It is not yet clear whether the new policy will be implemented this coming school year.

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Source: Church Leaders