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SB-660 Postsecondary education: mental health counselors.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 05/17/2019 05:06 PM
SB660:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  May 17, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 660


Introduced by Senator Pan
(Principal coauthor: Senator Portantino)
(Coauthor: Senator Coauthors: Senators Beall and Galgiani)
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Bonta)

February 22, 2019


An act to add Section 66027.2 to the Education Code, relating to postsecondary education.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 660, as amended, Pan. Postsecondary education: mental health counselors.
Existing law establishes the California State University, administered by the Trustees of the California State University, and the California Community Colleges, administered by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. Existing law provides for licensing and regulation of various professions in the healing arts, including physicians and surgeons, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, educational psychologists, clinical social workers, and licensed professional clinical counselors.
This bill would require the Trustees of the California State University and the governing board of each community college district to have establish a goal of having one full-time equivalent mental health counselor with an applicable California license per 1,500 students enrolled at each of their respective campuses to the extent consistent with state and federal law. The bill would define mental health counselor for purposes of this provision. The bill would require those institutions, on or before January 1, 2021, and every 3 years thereafter, to report to the Legislature how funding was spent and the number of mental health counselors employed on each of its campuses, as specified. The bill would require each campus of those institutions to, at least every 3 years, conduct a campus survey and focus groups to understand students’ needs and challenges regarding, among other things, their mental health, would require each campus of those institutions to collect data on attempted suicides, as specified, and would require that data, without any personally identifiable information and collected in accordance with state and federal privacy law, to be included in the report to the Legislature. To the extent that this bill would impose new duties on community college districts, it would constitute a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Students face anxiety, depression, and stress as they confront challenges of campus life.
(b) Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students students, claiming more than 1,100 lives every year nationally.
(c) One in four students has a diagnosable mental illness and 40 percent of students do not seek mental health services when they need it.
(d) For students of color, these challenges may be even more acute as they face additional stressors, such as discrimination, immigration status, financial hardship, and being the first of their families to attend college, and students of color are less likely to access needed services.
(e) Among the many benefits of mental health counseling are lower college dropout rates, improved academic performance, and reduced legal liability for campuses.
(f) The California State University system in particular is woefully understaffed with mental health counselors to address the needs of their campuses.

SEC. 2.

 Section 66027.2 is added to the Education Code, to read:

66027.2.
 (a) (1) The Trustees of the California State University and the governing board of each community college district shall have establish a goal of having one full-time equivalent mental health counselor per 1,500 students enrolled at each of their respective campuses to the extent consistent with state and federal law.
(2) Where possible, mental health counselors hired under paragraph (1) should be full-time staff, and efforts should be made so that mental health counselors reflect the diversity of the student body.
(3) The ratio specified in paragraph (1) shall apply as a goal during all academic terms, including summer and winter sessions.
(b) The number of mental health counselors as computed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall constitute the goal for the minimum number of mental health counselors to be hired on a campus based on the campus student population. Additional mental health counselors may be hired in accordance with additional needs identified on a campus.
(c) For purposes of this section, “mental health counselor” means a person who provides individual counseling, group counseling, crisis intervention, emergency services, referrals, program evaluation and research, or outreach and consultation interventions to the campus community, or any combination of these, and who is licensed in the State of California by the applicable licensing entity. holds an active license and is in good standing with the Board of Behavioral Sciences, the Board of Psychology, or the Medical Board of California.
(d) (1) On or before January 1, 2021, and every three years thereafter, a postsecondary educational institution subject to this section shall report to the Legislature, consistent with Section 9795 of the Government Code, how funding was spent and the number of mental health counselors employed on each of its campuses.
(2) Each campus of a postsecondary educational institution subject to this section shall, at least every three years, conduct a campus survey and focus groups, including focus groups with students of color, to understand students’ needs and challenges regarding their mental health and emotional well-being, sense of belonging on campus, and academic success.
(A) The campus surveys and data collection required in this paragraph (2) shall be conducted in accordance with state and federal privacy law, including, but not limited to, the Confidentiality of Medical Informatent to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.