California State PTA Announces Support for Better Mental Health Services for Children and Youth, and Additional Funding

SACRAMENTO, June 11, 2020 – During California State PTA’s Statewide Association Meeting taking place June 9-11, delegates from across the state voted to adopt a resolution that expands our members’ commitment to advocate for better mental health education for students, more mental health services in schools, and additional state funding for mental health and wellness programs for children and youth.

“Studies show that 21% of children ages 9 to 17 have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that causes impairment, but 79% of those children do not receive mental health care,” said Celia Jaffe, President of California State PTA. “The majority of young people who do receive mental health treatment do so at school. As an organization that advocates for the health and wellbeing of children and youth, PTA will be further empowered to fight for children to receive the mental health services they clearly need, and to ensure that schools are funded to supply these services.”

The mental health services resolution commits California State PTA to support and promote:

  • Age-appropriate social-emotional learning and mental health education for all students;
  • Mental health wellness and social emotional learning policies, including staff training, in schools;
  • Legislation to revise the California State Education Code to require school counselors at all levels of education;
  • Strategies to achieve the ACA-recommended 250:1 student-to-counselor ratio; and
  • Legislation, regulations and other measures at all levels of government to allocate funds that are sufficient to address mental health issues.

“My nephew’s suicide, a result of mental illness, has devastated me and my family,” said Keri Lynn Baert of Trabuco Hills High School PTSA in Mission Viejo, the PTA that sponsored the resolution. “I wrote this resolution to do something to prevent another family from suffering the way mine has. This resolution will commit PTA to advocate for more funding, and to urge the State of California to make the mental health of our children a higher priority.”

California State PTA is holding a “virtual” annual business meeting this week from June 9-11 in lieu of its annual May convention, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Members from all over the state will attend via video conference in order to adopt important changes to the association’s legislative platform, welcome new units, hear speeches from special guests, and vote on resolutions. Resolutions are proposed by individual units, councils or districts, and those that are approved at the meeting will serve as the basis for action for all California State PTA members for the coming years.