LOS ANGELES – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted in favor on a motion authored by Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, and co-authored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger that will provide comprehensive mental health support for students returning to school for in-person instruction.
“Before COVID-19, one in five children had a diagnosed mental health disorder, and with the pandemic these behavioral challenges have only increased and intensified,” shared Chair Solis. “For many students, our schools were the first line of mental health support, and due to necessary closures to safeguard our public health, many went without this invaluable resource for their mental health. With this motion, we are setting a framework that will provide critical resources to youth in our educational system, and gives teachers, parents, and community members the tools needed to support the mental health needs of our students.”
“Mental health care for youth is an increasingly important priority for this Board and for families across Los Angeles County,” said Supervisor Barger. “While enabling students to return to the classroom will help provide the social and emotional wellness they’ve missed over the last year, the impacts from the pandemic will still have lasting effects on their wellbeing. I was proud to recognize an arts therapy program implemented in our local schools by the Department of Mental Health in 2020 for this very reason. I know today’s effort will continue to provide the support our children need and deserve as they navigate learning in a new context.”
The passage of today’s motion instructs the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to develop a comprehensive plan, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) to address the mental health needs of students as they transition back into the classroom for in-person instruction. This includes a partnership with LACOE and through consultation with the UCLA Public Partnership for Wellbeing to develop a mental health resource toolkit to support the school ecosystem by providing trauma responsive training and resources on the identification and warning signs of depression and anxiety in their children; the development of promotional materials and peer-to-peer opportunities to students, including programs such as the Community Ambassador Network, among other logistical directives.
To read the full motion, click here.
Kimberly Ortega, Acting Communications Director, (213) 361-6435 or KOrtega@bos.lacounty.gov
Stephany Villaseñor, Communications Deputy, (213) 308-9017 or SVillasenor@bos.lacounty.gov