Children's Commission Recommends Expanded Student Mental Health Efforts

Aug 15, 2018

One in five American children has or will have a serious mental illness – and at least half of them won’t get treatment.

The Indiana Commission on Improving the Status of Children wants every school district in the state to have personnel to help integrate what’s called social emotional learning into the classroom – essentially, education that improves mental health.

Children spend more 13,000 hours in their K-12 careers with educators – and the Children’s Commission says districts need to address students’ social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health. Hamilton County Systems of Care Assistant Director Terri Miller says each district should have staff dedicated to that task.

“Just like we do reading and math, we make sure that we’re all looking at that together as a district. How can we do that in a way that’s effective for social emotional learning and mental health?” Miller says.

Miller says districts should start with a common philosophy.

“Many times, you know, we want to start jumping into ‘What interventions are we going to do, what screening tool are we going to use?’ Well, we need to do that in a way that’s sustainable by all having the same philosophy,” Miller says.

The Children’s Commission also wants to explore funding opportunities to expand those services in school districts statewide.