BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     AB 580

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          Date of Hearing:  April 29, 2015

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION

                              Patrick O'Donnell, Chair

          AB 580  
          (O'Donnell) - As Amended April 6, 2015

          SUBJECT:  School employees:  in-service training:  early  
          identification of pupil mental health issues

          SUMMARY:  Requires each school to provide annual training to  
          teachers and classified staff  on the early identification of  
          student mental health problems, including protocols for  
          referrals.  Specifically, this bill:  

          1)Makes findings and declarations relative to the importance of  
            mental health to student success and the need for educator  
            training on the early identification of student mental health  

          2)Requires that, within the first six weeks of every school  
            year, as part of a regularly scheduled staff meeting, each  
            school district, county office of education, and charter  
            school provide in-service training to teachers of grades K-12  
            and to classified staff who have regular personal contact with  
            students, on the early identification of pupil mental health  
            issues, including referral protocols.


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          3)States that this training may instead be provided in an online  
            format outside of a regularly scheduled staff meeting.

          4)Encourages school districts, county offices of education, and  
            charter schools to provide this training as part of a larger  
            initiative aimed at improving mental health outcomes for  

          5)Encourages the use of existing funds from other state and  
            federal sources, as appropriate, to meet this requirement.

          6)States that nothing in this act may be construed as:
             a)   requiring school personnel to identify, assess,  
               diagnose, or treat pupil mental health issues
             b)   authorizing or encouraging school personnel to act  
               outside of the authority granted by their credential or  

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Makes AB 114 (Committee on Budget),  Chapter 43, Statutes of  
            2011, school districts the "responsible agency" for mental  
            health services for students with individualized education  
            programs (IEPs).  


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          2)Through initiative statute in 2004 (Proposition 63),  
            establishes the California Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)  
            which provides for local mental health services, including  
            prevention and early intervention, innovative projects, Full  
            Service Partnerships, peer support services, housing, and  
            other mental health treatment services. 

          3)Specifies, under federal law, that schools have the  
            responsibility for educationally related mental health  
            services.  Requires local educational agencies (LEAs) to  
            update the Individualized Education Plan of each child that  
            will experience a change in services. 

          4)Requires, under federal law, the provision of a free,  
            appropriate public education to all disabled students in the  
            least restrictive environment.

          FISCAL EFFECT:  This bill has been keyed as a state-mandated  
          local program by the Office of Legislative Counsel.


          Need for the bill.  The author states, "An estimated at 20% of  
          children have mental health issues, and 80% of those are  
          undiagnosed and untreated.  Mental health challenges  
          disproportionately affect students who face stressors such as  
          violence, trauma, and poverty.  Research demonstrates that early  
          detection and treatment of mental illness improves students'  


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          attendance, behavior, and academic achievement. 

          While lack of attention to students' mental health has  
          significant effects on school achievement, research has shown  
          that teachers lack the training needed for supporting children's  
          mental health needs.  In surveys, teachers cite disruptive  
          behavior and their lack of information and training in mental  
          health issues as major barriers to instruction. 

          With the last few years of training and capacity building done  
          by the California County Superintendents Educational Services  
          Association' Student Mental Health Initiative, the state is  
          ideally positioned to provide this training.  AB 580 will equip  
          teachers and other school staff with the tools they need to  
          support the early identification of mental health problems among  
          their students, thereby improving academic and health outcomes."  

          California Mental Health Services Agency (CalMHSA) K-12  
          programs.  The California Mental Health Services Authority  
          (CalMHSA) is a California Joint Powers Authority, funded by  
          Proposition 63 (Mental Health Services Act) dollars from 49  
          member counties.  CalMHSA has funded twenty-six different  
          projects that are grouped into three categories:  Suicide  
          Prevention; Stigma and Discrimination Reduction; and Student  
          Mental Health.  The CalMHSA programs in student mental health  
          are described below.


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          Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup.  In 2012, the  
          Superintendent of Public Instruction and CalMHSA convened a  
          Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup to develop policy  
          recommendations that promote early identification, referral,  
          coordination, and access to quality mental health services for  
          students. The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup is  
          comprised of teachers, school counselors, school social workers,  
          school psychologists, school nurses, and school administrators,  
          as well as state and county mental health professionals.  

          The Workgroup has noted the connection between mental wellness  
          and academic achievement, attendance, and behavior. It has also  
          noted that California's educators acknowledge their lack of  
          preparedness in addressing pupil mental health challenges as a  
          major barrier to instruction. The Workgroup found that "most  
          educators and staff lack training to identify pupils who may be  
          in need of support, make referrals, and, as appropriate, to help  
          pupils overcome or manage mental health barriers and succeed in  
          school."  They also noted that mental health challenges  
          disproportionately impact students who face stressors such as  
          violence, trauma, and poverty.  

          This year the Workgroup issued a recommendation calling for  
          increased training of school personnel, in order to promote  
          earlier identification and intervention to meet the needs of  
          California's pupils.

          Regional K-12 Student Mental Health training through CCSESA.   
          Since 2011, CalMHSA has funded a Student Mental Health  
          Initiative through the California County Superintendents  
          Educational Services Association (CCSESA).  This project is  
          designed to build capacity and cross-system collaboration to  
          develop and sustain school-based mental health programs  
          addressing prevention and early identification strategies.


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          One of the goals of this project is the training of school  
          staff.  Since 2011 this project has used a train-the-trainer  
          model to provide educators with tools for the early  
          identification and prevention of mental health problems.  Two  
          thousand trainings have been conducted, with over 140,000  
          thousand participants.  The estimated total reach of this  
          project is two million students, or one third of the state's  

          The major program topics were school climate and culture,  
          bullying prevention, mental health and wellness, youth  
          development. Participants included school staff, students,  
          parents, mental health staff and providers, community  
          organizations, and law enforcement.  According to evaluation  
          responses, these trainings have significantly increased  
          educators' awareness of mental health issues and knowledge of  
          referral processes. CCSESA estimates that this program cost an  
          average of $2.25 per student per year.  Since 2014 this project  
          has declined significantly in size as a result of decreased  


          CDE TETRIS project.  CalMHSA has also funded mental health  
          training through the CDE  Training Educators through Recognition  
          and Identification Strategies (TETRIS) Eliminating Barriers to  
          Learning (EBL) project.  This statewide K-12 Mental Health  
          Program promotes school and student wellness and academic  
          achievement by increasing capacity for all school and  
          administrative staff to identify students who are experiencing  
          mental health issues early on. To accomplish this goal, the CDE  
          subcontracted with the Placer County Office of Education to  
          deliver eleven TETRIS EBL workshops annually through 2019.  The  
          curriculum used for the TETRIS EBL workshops is one developed by  
          the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance  
          Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).   


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          Kognito Interactive Online Simulation Program is also used as an  
          outside source to help support school staff in initiating  
          difficult conversations with students around the subject of  
          mental health and suicidal ideation.

          SAMHSA "Now is the Time" pilot projects.  Following the school  
          shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in December  
          2012, President Obama established a grant program to increase  
          students' access to mental health services.  California received  
          $9.7 million from the "Now is the Time Project Advancing  
          Wellness and Resilience in Education" (NITT AWARE) grant last  
          fall.  According to the CDE, the grant has two components.   
          Three local educational agencies (LEAs), Garden Grove Unified  
          School District, Santa Rosa City Schools, and the San Diego  
          County Office of Education, were selected to participate in the  
          first component of the grant.  The LEAs will establish a process  
          for referring and connecting children to mental health services.  
           If successful, the models developed by these LEAs can be shared  
          statewide.  The second component utilizes a training program  
          called Youth Mental Health First Aid.  The training teaches  
          school staff how to help youth experiencing mental health or  
          addictions challenges, or are in crisis.  

          What kind of training would be used in these in-services?   
          Several training programs are available for low or no cost to  
          school districts.  Youth Mental Health First Aid, used in the  
          CCSESA and SAMHSA trainings, is a course which introduces common  
          mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent  
          development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help  
          young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics  
          covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in  
          which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders, and  
          eating disorders.  

          In addition, as noted above, TETRIS EBL training is available at  


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          no charge from the CDE through 2019, and is offered in part in  
          an online simulation format (At Risk in PK-12, Kognito).  TETRIS  
          EBL provides teachers and school staff with tools to identify,  
          recognize, refer, and support students with mental health needs  
          in a respectful and culturally responsive manner.  Training  
          focuses on the early identification of mental health issues and  
          effective classroom and school wide strategies. Participants  
          gain tools to break down barriers affecting behaviors that can  
          interfere with academic performance and attendance.  

          Recommended amendments.  Staff recommends that the bill be  
          amended to 1) state that, for classified employees, the training  
          may occur at a time other than a staff meeting, but that in all  
          cases will occur during regular work hours, 2) replace "during  
          the first six weeks of the school year" to "the beginning of the  
          school year" and change "staff meeting" to "staff meeting or  
          meetings," and 3) require that the training is provided to all  
          certificated staff.

          Related legislation.  AB 1133 (Achadjian) of this Session would  
          establish a 4-year pilot program, the School-Based Early Mental  
          Health Intervention and Prevention Services Support Program, to  
          provide outreach, free regional training, and technical  
          assistance for local educational agencies in providing mental  
          health services at schoolsites.  

          AB 1025 (Thurmond) of this Session would require the CDE to  
          establish additional pilot programs to encourage inclusive  
          practices that integrate mental health, special education, and  
          school climate interventions following a multi-tiered framework.  



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          California School Employees Association

          California Medical Association

          LIUNA Local 777


          California Right to Life Committee

          Analysis Prepared by:Tanya Lieberman / ED. / (916) 319-2087


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