Urge Senate Education Committee to support SB1376 for Youth Mental Health Programs
More and more states are requiring mental health education in schools as young people are increasingly vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental illness. Today, Arizona has an opportunity to join the movement with SB1376 and to help more students - students like Briana.
Briana always did well in school until around the 8th grade when things in life started to slip for her. She began grappling with depression. She eventually transferred to another school where her school administrator, Ms. Cyndi, took notice how she was struggling. Ms. Cyndi reached out to Briana to express concern and did research on limited mental health services available for youth as she had witnessed the disturbing trend in other students. She worked with Briana to start a new after-school club at their school called Your Life Matters (YLM), a peer-to-peer support resource. Through YLM, students recognized they were not alone. They received basic education on mental health in a safe place to share and to be accepted. Briana credits YLM for saving her life.
Briana was inspired to get more involved in YLM. Together they began attending community events and advocating that school mental health programs and clubs like YLM be started in other schools as well.
She also got connected with a local initiative called Help & Hope for YOUth and joined their youth task force. Help & Hope for YOUth, a member of Children’s Action Alliance’s Southern Arizona Advisory Committee, is a multi-sector initiative working to improve outcomes for young people (age 10 – 24) by reducing the stigma of living with and seeking services for mental health challenges.
Their Advocacy & Policy Task Force elevated the youth voice brought forward by members of the community such as Briana, and set out to find ways where schools could do better in supporting youth struggling with mental health challenges.
The first of which just became a bill at the Arizona Legislature!
SB 1376 Senator Bowie’s mental health curriculum bill has been scheduled for a hearing: TODAY, Tuesday February 2 at 2:00 PM. Please take a moment to show your support by taking action below in support of the bill.
Representative Hernandez has the mirror bill HB 2656 which he has introduced in the House.