State provides mental health resources for young people

Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a new plan to transform children’s mental health programs on August 18. (photo courtesy of Governor Gavin Newsom’s office)

As children across California have returned to school, Governor Gavin Newsom on August 18 unveiled California’s blueprint for children’s mental health to ensure all California children, parents and communities have access increased access to mental health and addictions services.

Nationally, children are reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety at record rates and are considering or attempting suicide at historic levels. In California, about a third of seventh and ninth graders and half of 12th graders experienced “chronic sadness” in the 2020-2021 school year, and an estimated one in 10 children aged 12 at 17 has suffered from at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the governor. Suicide rates among young Californians between the ages of 10 and 18 rose 20% between 2019 and 2020, he said.

California is taking urgent action to address the crisis, Newsom added. For children and families in need of help, some elements of the plan are already available to all California children, including the Children’s Mental Health Resource Center, which provides children and parents with a central hub for variety of resources, including several helplines, CalHOPE, and information guides on the warning signs of suicide and depression.

Newsom unveiled the plan at McLane High School in Fresno, which provides social-emotional support services to students with a support staff of psychologists, social workers and wellness specialists. Over the past decade, the Fresno Unified School District has increased mental health staff from approximately 50 to more than 200 professionals. The Children’s Mental Health Blueprint provides funding to schools across the state to offer the same type of resources as McLane and Fresno Unified.

“Mental and behavioral health is one of the greatest challenges of our time,” Newsom said. “As other states squeeze resources to support children’s mental health, California is stepping up its efforts with the most significant overhaul of our mental health system in state history. We invest billions of dollars to ensure every child in California has better access to comprehensive mental health and addictions services. The blueprint for children’s mental health is based on a very simple belief: every child deserves support for their mental health. It’s the California way of putting our kids first. »

The governor also signed Assembly Bill 2508 into law by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) to better define the role of school counselors which recognizes the importance of mental health access.

Over the past three years, California has launched an overhaul of the state’s mental health system – investing $4.7 billion to strengthen coverage options and public awareness so that all children and youth are systematically screened, supported and served, Newsom said. The funding creates new virtual platforms and establishes a new mental health workforce pipeline, adding 40,000 new mental health workers to the state.

“As a parent, there is nothing worse than watching your child suffer and feeling powerless to help them. And this is the case for far too many families across the country with children struggling with serious issues such as depression and anxiety without access to the care they need,” said first partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. . “In California, we take the mental health and well-being of our children seriously, and we’re tackling this issue head-on with significant investments in the infrastructure of the state’s mental health system. And for those who are looking for support today, the California Youth Mental Health Resource Center connects parents, caregivers, educators and children with the resources and support kids need to improve their mental health and develop healthy wellness habits and practices that will help them thrive.

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