Today's Law As Amended

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SB-224 Pupil instruction: mental health education.(2021-2022)

As Amends the Law Today
As Amends the Law on Nov 18, 2021

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Mental health is critical to overall health, well-being, and academic success.
(2) Mental health challenges affect all age groups, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes.
(3) Millions of Californians, including at least one in five youths, live with mental health challenges. Millions more are affected by the mental health challenges of someone else, such as a close friend or family member.
(4) Mental health education is one of the best ways to increase awareness and the seeking of help, while reducing the stigma associated with mental health challenges. The public education system is the most efficient and effective setting for providing this education to all youth.
(b) For the foregoing reasons, it is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this measure to ensure that all California pupils in grades 1 to 12, inclusive, have the opportunity to benefit from a comprehensive mental health education.

SEC. 2.

 Article 6 (commencing with Section 51925) is added to Chapter 5.5 of Part 28 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code, to read:

Article  6. Mandatory Mental Health Education
 Each school district, county office of education, state special school, and charter school that offers one or more courses in health education to pupils in middle school or high school shall include in those courses instruction in mental health that meets the requirements of this article. This section shall not be construed to limit a school district, county office of education, state special school, or charter school in offering or requiring instruction in mental health as specified in this article. This instruction shall include all of the following:
(a) Reasonably designed instruction on the overarching themes and core principles of mental health.
(b) Defining signs and symptoms of common mental health challenges. Depending on pupil age and developmental level, this may include defining conditions such as depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and anxiety, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
(c) Elucidating the evidence-based services and supports that effectively help individuals manage mental health challenges.
(d) Promoting mental health wellness and protective factors, which includes positive development, social and cultural connectedness and supportive relationships, resiliency, problem solving skills, coping skills, self-esteem, and a positive school and home environment in which pupils feel comfortable.
(e) The ability to identify warning signs of common mental health problems in order to promote awareness and early intervention so that pupils know to take action before a situation turns into a crisis. This shall include instruction on both of the following:
(1) How to seek and find assistance from professionals and services within the school district that includes, but is not limited to, school counselors with a pupil personnel services credential, school psychologists, and school social workers, and in the community for themselves or others.
(2) Evidence-based and culturally responsive practices that are proven to help overcome mental health challenges.
(f) The connection and importance of mental health to overall health and academic success and to co-occurring conditions, such as chronic physical conditions, chemical dependence, and substance abuse.
(g) Awareness and appreciation about the prevalence of mental health challenges across all populations, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses, including the impact of race, ethnicity, and culture on the experience and treatment of mental health challenges.
(h) Stigma surrounding mental health challenges and what can be done to overcome stigma, increase awareness, and promote acceptance. This shall include, to the extent possible, classroom presentations of narratives by trained peers and other individuals who have experienced mental health challenges and how they coped with their situations, including how they sought help and acceptance.
 Instruction and materials required pursuant to this article shall satisfy all of the following:
(a) Be appropriate for use with pupils of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and ethnic and cultural backgrounds, pupils with disabilities, and English learners.
(b) Be accessible to pupils with disabilities, including, but not limited to, providing a modified curriculum, materials and instruction in alternative formats, and auxiliary aids.
(c) Not reflect or promote bias against any person on the basis of any category protected by Section 220.
(d) Be coordinated with any existing on-campus mental health providers including, but not limited to, providers with a pupil personnel services credential, who may be immediately called upon by pupils for assistance.
 (a) This article does not limit a pupil’s health and mental health privacy or confidentiality rights.
(b) A pupil receiving instruction pursuant to this article shall not be required to disclose their confidential health or mental health information at any time in the course of receiving that instruction, including, but not limited to, for the purpose of the peer component described in subdivision (h) of Section 51925.
 For purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Age appropriate” has the same meaning as defined in Section 51931.
(b) “English learner” has the same meaning as defined in Section 51931.
(c) “Evidence-based” means verified or supported by research conducted in compliance with scientific methods and published in peer-reviewed journals, where appropriate, and recognized as accurate and objective by professional organizations and agencies with expertise in the mental health field.
(d) “Instructors trained in the appropriate courses” means instructors with knowledge of the most recent evidence-based research on mental health.
 On or before January 1, 2024, the department shall develop a plan to expand mental health instruction in California public schools.