Mental Health in Schools Act

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SOWK 535 Assignment #1: Brief the Mayor
Melinda Parker

SOWK 535 Section 20131:67196
University of Southern California School of Social Work
Dr. Nani Lee

Introduction
As a future Social Worker it is important to be aware of the policies that may impact the community in which we serve. By being aware of these policies a social worker can prepare to provide services to the population for which one serves. A social worker must advocate for the good of the community and the people within that community. As the Mayor of Biloxi you are also in a position where you must advocate for or against policy initiatives for the good of the people for which you serve. Therefore, it is important that you join me in supporting S. 195 or the “Mental Health in Schools Act of 2013.” Part A: Legislation and Political Context: What is the “Elevator Speech” Overview?

The purpose of the Mental Health in Schools Act of 2013 is to amend the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend projects relating to children and violence to provide access to school-based comprehensive mental health programs. This piece of legislation seeks to revise, increase funding for, and expand the scope of the Safe Schools-Healthy Students program in order to provide access to more comprehensive school-based mental health services and supports. It will also provide for comprehensive staff development for school and community service personnel working in the school, and provide for comprehensive training for children with mental health disorders, for parents, siblings, and other family members of such children, and for concerned members of the community.

The Bill was introduced in the Senate on January 31st, 2013 and was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The bill was introduced by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and has 11 Co-sponsors (10 Democrats, 1 Independent), none of which represent any of the four districts in the state of Mississippi. BILL TEXT URL:

http://napolitano.house.gov/sites/napolitano.house.gov/files/images/mental_health_in_schools_act_2011.pdf Part B: Problem Analysis: Why is this Bill/Policy Important? Why Should the Mayor Care?
On behalf of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Pamela Hyde testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on "Assessing the State of America’s Mental Health System" January 24, 2013. She stated that, “Half of all lifetime cases of mental and substance use disorders begin by age 14 and three-fourths by age 24.6”. If proper treatment and support services are not provided to people with mental health conditions or substance abuse disorders, they may experience crisis situations which can affect families, schools and communities. Less than one in five children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health and substance use problems receive treatment. That is why last week, the President announced initiatives to ensure that students and young adults receive treatment for mental health issues. Enacting the Mental Health in Schools Act will make it possible to identify and provide treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues early, before the development of crisis situations, such as the Newtown tragedy. It would also provide us with the resources to help communities understand and implement the prevention approaches proven to be effective in stopping issues from developing in the first place. The social problems this Bill seeks to impact, as stated in the original Bill (Mental Health in Schools Act of 2011) and on Congresswoman Napolitano’s website, “Approximately one in five U.S. children and adolescents have a diagnosable mental disorder.” (American Academy of Pediatrics), Serious emotional or behavioral disorder that is severe enough to cause substantial impairment in functioning at home, at school, or in the community effects approximately one in ten children. It is estimated that seventy-five...
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