With peer pressure, cyberbullying, and the strong desire to fit in, children and teenagers face a lot of problems that can have devastating effects on their mental health, especially if they do not know how to deal with these issues. To help this vulnerable group cope, Florida is trying something new.
Florida Public Schools to Require Classes on Mental Health
In 2020, Florida public schools have started to implement mental health classes for their students. Starting with sixth graders and extending to high school seniors, these students will partake in at least 5 hours of mental health education in school each year.
The goal of these classes is to not only lower the stigma behind mental health but also to teach students how to cope with poor mental health. These mental health classes will address everything from recognizing the signs of mental illness to suicide prevention. The classes will also touch on the relationship between poor mental health and substance abuse problems since many people use drugs and alcohol to cope with their mental health problems. What many students may not realize is that this pattern of behavior can lead to addiction and it can be almost impossible to stop without formal dual diagnosis treatment.
This new initiative was approved in July of 2019 by the State Board of Education to try and improve access to mental health care for the youth, a vulnerable demographic. Not only are their brains not yet fully developed, but also the youth are often not taught how to deal with their emotions in a healthy manner. The result can be a plethora of problems that only get worse in adulthood. Florida, in particular, has been criticized for its neglect of mental health with this demographic and has been ranked number 36 out of 51 on the Mental Health America Youth Ranking.1 The higher the ranking, the more cases of mental illness within this demographic and the less accessible mental health care is in the state. This program is a part of a preventative approach to mental health, rather than waiting until professional mental health care becomes necessary.
This initiative was also created in response to the Parkland school shooting of 2018. Along with other state regulations, lawmakers hope that mental health programs like these classes could prevent other school shootings from happening.
At our West Palm Beach treatment center, we understand the importance of good mental health and that learning good behavioral health habits can drastically change a person’s life for the better. If you or a loved one is struggling with poor mental health or substance abuse problems, do not wait to get help. Call us today at 561-220-3981 to learn more about how we may be able to assist you.
- Mental Health America – Mental Health In America – Youth Data