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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 5, 2019 09:05 AM
From: Representative Tim Briggs
To: All House members
Subject: Adding Mental Health Education to Primary and Secondary School Curriculum
Over 90% of youth who die by suicide suffer from depression or another diagnosable and treatable mental illness. Over 50 percent of students with emotional or behavioral disorders drop out of high school and, of those who do remain in school, only 42% graduate. Mental health is an integral part of our overall health and should be an integral part of health education in Pennsylvania schools.

My legislation requires the addition of mental health education into existing health and wellness curricula for all primary and secondary schools under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education. Mental health education will be taught in order to establish parity between physical and mental health. All Pennsylvania school districts will be able to consult with national, state, and local mental health social services in order to create age-appropriate material to be used in the classroom.

By ensuring that young people learn about mental health, we increase the likelihood that they will be able to recognize signs in themselves and others and seek help. As we begin to teach the facts about mental health and openly discuss the issues from a health perspective, we will begin to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness that causes ostracism and isolation, leads to bullying, and keeps many students from getting the help they need. Health education that respects the importance of mental health and challenges of mental illness will help young people and their families feel more comfortable seeking treatment, improve academic performance, and save lives.

We need to join states like New York and Virginia and enact this legislation to educate our students on the importance of mental health as well as eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health.

Introduced as HB965