SACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) announced on Feb. 24, that he has introduced a bill package aimed at getting K-12 students greater access to mental health professionals in public schools in order to deal with the mental health impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns and school closures.
Specifically, AB 1080 would allow school districts to partner with outside mental health providers or clinics to provide in-school mental health treatment for students. AB 1081 would provide $500 million through the Local Control Funding Formula to school districts that commit to providing adequate mental health resources to students.
“The pandemic has had a major impact on our children’s mental health and wellbeing. School closures have limited the time kids spend around one another, and extracurricular activities like sports, music, and drama remain severely limited,” said Cunningham. “By increasing both the funding and the pool of accessible mental health professionals available for our kids, we can make sure children have the mental health resources they need.
“This has been a difficult year, and our kids deserve all the help they can get as we transition back to in-person learning.”
According to a recent CDC study, mental health-related visits to emergency departments increased during the first six months of the pandemic. Mental health-related emergency visits by children aged 5-11 increased by 24 percent, while visits by children aged 12-17 increased 31 percent year-over-year.