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07/23/2024 03:06 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: April 3, 2024 10:10 AM
From: Representative Ismail Smith-Wade-El
To: All House members
Subject: Mental Health Awareness and Model Curriculum
There are numerous studies and reports which show student mental health is among the highest-ranking challenges facing educators across Pennsylvania. Students who have reported poor mental health, such as feelings of sadness, depression and/or a sense of hopelessness have increased even before the challenges they faced during the COVID pandemic. Research also suggests that poor mental health among students leads to more self-destructive behavior like drug and alcohol abuse, violence and poor academic performance. 
My legislation would require schools to provide information regarding mental health disorders and education for students in grades K-12 to parents, guardians and key school personnel. The info will be compiled in conjunction with the Dept. of Education and the Dept. of Health and will be age appropriate for the student’s grade.
Additionally, the legislation would establish a Mental Health Education Advisory Committee to make recommendations on mental health issues, awareness and education. The committee would be comprised of members from specialized health organizations, school and teachers’ associations, parent-teacher organizations and students enrolled in youth advocacy and student council groups.  
Current law, under the Pennsylvania School Code, Article XIV, School Health Services requires various health care training and information on several conditions for students, such as asthma, tuberculosis and diabetes, but there are no current model curriculum or information pertaining to student mental health.
This bill will allow us to give all students who are part of our Pennsylvania communities the means to recognize their mental health and address their needs, to know they are not alone and there are resources to help them thrive, continue their education without disruption and pursue their paths of success.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB2274