School Mental Health Bill Clears Senate

Feb 27, 2019

A bill to provide mental health care for Indiana students narrowly passed the Senate this week.  The legislation was written in response to school safety. 

Bill author, Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield), says the creation of an integrated mental health system is a key step in preventing school violence. 

"Every recent incident in Indiana that I’m aware of has not been a total surprise," says Crider. "Someone knew that student was having issues."

The bill underwent numerous changes because of concerns about privacy and consent.  It would establish a grant program for schools to include mental health programs, instruction and resources. 

Crider says the state has a duty to help create a system that identifies children in need of mental health services.

"Are we intervening at all? Are we trying to make sure that doesn’t happen?" Crider says. 

The bill would require consent from parents before students participate in mental health assessment or treatment.

School-based plans that include social-emotional learning, trauma-informed care and early intervention can strengthen mental wellness and improve academic success.

The bill now goes to the House.