(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
7(1) In 2012, the Superintendent convened the Student Mental
8Health Policy Workgroup, a collaboration between the department
9and the California Mental Health Services Authority, to develop
10policy recommendations that promote early identification, referral,
11coordination, and access to quality mental health services for
12pupils. The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup is comprised
13of teachers, school counselors, school social workers, school
14psychologists, school nurses, and school administrators, as well
15as state and county mental health professionals.
16(2) The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup has issued a
recommendation calling for increased training of school personnel,
18in order to promote earlier identification and intervention to meet
19the needs of California’s pupils.
20(3) The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup has found the
22(A) Research points to a strong connection between mental
23wellness and academic achievement.
24(B) Research demonstrates that early detection and treatment
25of mental illness improves attendance, behavior, and academic
27(C) The percentage of children with mental health issues is
28estimated at 20 percent, with 80 percent of those undiagnosed and
29untreated. The lack of attention to their mental health has
30significant effects on school achievement and life outcomes.
31(D) Mental health challenges disproportionately impact pupils
32who face stressors such as violence, trauma, and poverty.
33(E) Mental health training for educators and other adults
34working with pupils can help identify mental health issues early,
35allowing pupils the opportunity to grow and thrive by receiving
36the support they need to overcome barriers to their education.
37(F) California’s educators report their lack of preparedness in
38addressing pupil mental health challenges as a major barrier to
39instruction. Most educators and staff lack training to identify pupils
40who may be in need of support, make referrals, and, as
P4 1appropriate, to help pupils overcome or manage mental health
2barriers and succeed in school.
3(G) Statewide action is needed to expand training
4California so that all school staff can help address the significant
5mental health needs of pupils.
6(H) While some parts of the state have benefited from mental
7health training on a small scale, limited budgets have restricted
8the reach of training that is critically needed in all districts.
9(I) Federal grant funds are now available for pilot programs
10in school districts and county offices of education to help
11disseminate mental health training throughout the state.
12(J) The department has been authorized to administer the federal
13“Now is the Time” AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience
14in Education) State Agency Program grant.
15(K) This program will build and expand statewide awareness
16of mental health issues among pupils by supporting
17school personnel and other adults who interact with pupils to
18identify possible mental health issues and connect pupils to
20(b) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature that California
21educators become knowledgeable about early identification of
22pupil mental health issues, including protocols for pupil referral
23for additional support.