The following is a campaign from NASSP for leaders to actively contact their legislators to take federal actions on five key areas to support the needs of districts to handle the mental health crisis we are experiencing across our nation. Please consider coping these words to use in your communications to legislators, on your social platforms, in all of your communications to your local community partners to also contact legislators and I thank NASSP for the powerful wording used below.

Schools across the country are experiencing a mental health crisis. Students and educators need more federal support, and Congress can do five key things right now that would tackle this growing crisis:

Our students and our schools cannot wait. We need action now! #PrincipalsForMentalHealth

Dear ___________,

According to NASSP’s recent Survey of America’s School Leaders and High School Students, three-quarters of school leaders (73%) and students (74%) report they needed help with their mental or emotional health last year. I can also tell you that oftentimes students’ mental health challenges manifest themselves as behavioral issues, putting further stress on educators who are already stretched too thin. One-half of school leaders (51%) reported in the survey student behavior is worse than before the pandemic, with the majority concerned about online bullying (85%), in-person/physical bullying (82%) and drug use (80%) in their school. A significant portion (82%) of school leaders also identified using federal funding to increase the number of school psychologists, counselors and other health professionals as important.

School leaders are uniquely positioned to leverage trauma-informed strategies to address the enormous wave of social, emotional, and mental health needs among students, but frankly, we need increased federal support to do it. For that reason, I support the following policies, and I urge you to take action on them:

Collectively, this legislation and funding would greatly expand our ability to recruit, hire, and train school based mental health professionals; require the Department of Education to research and disseminate student and educator mental health best practice guidance; establish new school mental health grant programs; and increase partnerships between schools and community mental health providers.

With this support, I truly believe that we can make great strides towards taking better care of our students and put them in a situation where they can succeed academically. For many, that simply isn’t possible while they are struggling to cope with intense mental health challenges. Please help us help them by supporting this important policy in 2023.

Over the past decade, we can see a trend of an increase in addressing the needs of mental health. The global pandemic added to this increase; in addition, the pressures of social media and societal changes increase the forces felt by not only our children but all.

Today is the day to begin to address these issues. We cannot wait any longer to start placing plans to act to help all of our children and adults. Consider also transitioning to a Two Rule school as you approach implementing all of these supports to provide everyone with the opportunity to feel good and feel safe at school. Be the solution daily in a world that needs you.

Please read my review of the book Trauma-Sensitive School Leadership. MiddleWeb has published the review, and this is a book to consider adding to your list of reading.

The reports of students failing in schools have identified our schools as failing. We have many things we need to repair in education, and we have not addressed these issues for decades. However, in the last three years, more has been added that needs to be addressed first before we can think our children can begin to catch up to the learning. Trauma is just one of those layers. Let’s start by understanding the how of leading trauma-sensitive schools.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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