Mental Health Education Mandate in Florida Aims to Benefit Teens and Prevent CrisisTeen mental health has been at the forefront of our minds as news stories show the aftermath of mass shootings and other tragedies that have often been due in part to untreated mental health issues in teens. In a progressive move toward reducing these tragic events, the state of Florida has mandated 5 hours per year of mental health education and crisis prevention for students in grades 6 through 12. This is a significant decision that will have long-lasting effects on students and their families.
Teen Mental Health Education to Reduce StigmaThe recent mental health education mandate in Florida could be a game changer for the safety and well-being of future generations. The tragedies that have led to this mandate have been vast and the need for mental health resources for teens has emerged as a significant priority. The stigma around mental health continues to loom large in our culture. This type of required curriculum will help with teen mental health awareness to reduce that stigma. As teens gain awareness of the causes of mental health challenges and how those needs can be addressed, a culture of acceptance and tolerance can become the norm. A number of courses on critical topics can help students to cope with their mental health challenges.
- Cyberbullying. Teen cyberbullying has reached epidemic proportions. A shocking 60% of teens have witnessed online bullying. Educating middle and high school students about mental health is likely to reduce the incidents of cyberbullying, which now affects 1 in 3 teens.
- Suicide Prevention. The need forteen suicide prevention is significant, as 7.4% of students in grades 9-12 reported making an attempt at suicide within the year in a 2017 survey. Mandated mental health education will provide students who are experiencing severe depression and suicidal ideation with support and necessary resources that could save lives.
- Substance Abuse. Teen substance abuse is an issue that can also be addressed as part of a mental health curriculum. Though substance abuse is a problem among this age group, teens aren’t as likely to openly discuss it, ask questions and learn about addiction unless given the opportunity in an educational setting.
Signs & Symptoms of Teen Mental Health IssuesTeen mental health matters. Providing education and intervention during the teen years is vital since 50% of mental health issues manifest by age 14. The treatment of mental health issues in teens can make a significant difference in their future wellness. Early intervention can mean that teens with mental health disorders get help sooner, learn how to recognize their needs and can live a better quality of life.
Access to Teen Mental Health Treatment & SupportIf you or a teen you know are struggling with mental health challenges, help is available. Mental health services and programs for teens offer confidential help. School-based therapists make it easy to access counseling with a trained professional who wants to help. Community resources are available for those who prefer to see a therapist outside of a school setting. Mental health and substance abuse resources are available 24/7. Teens don’t need to go through it alone, help is available. If your child is struggling with mental health and substance abuse challenges, reach out to the trained professionals at Next Generation Village who can offer support and assistance.
Ceballos, Ana. “Florida adds required mental health instruction for grades 6-12.” Miami Herald. July 18, 2019. Accessed August 9, 2019.
Bullyingstatistics.org. “Cyber Bullying Statistics.” Accessed August 9, 2019.
Dosomething.org. “11 Facts About Cyberbullying.” Accessed August 9, 2019.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance–United States, 2017.” June 15, 2018. Accessed August 9, 2019.
American Psychiatric Association. “Warning Signs of Mental Illness.” Reviewed by Parekh, Ranna, MD, MPH. July 2018. Accessed August 9, 2019.