Recent headlines in the news regarding school violence and bullying are an ongoing reminder of the potential dangers of not addressing the mental health needs of our nation’s student population. Unfortunately, as school funding gets tighter, services that are not seen as essential to academic achievement, such as mental health services, are often the first to be cut. If lack of parental support was viewed as the main barrier to implementing such mental health initiatives in schools, then Michigan parents just debunked that myth.
- Strong support for training of staff (82%), students (76%) and parents (84%) around mental health issues.
- More than half (66%) felt someone at school currently supports or advocates for their child to be mentally well adjusted.
- A majority (71%) support mental health services being implemented in school.
- Over a quarter (26%) reported that their child received a mental health diagnosis by a professional. Of these parents:
- Over half reported that mental health concerns impacted their child socially (66%) or academically (69%) as well as had an impact on family life (74%).
- A majority of parents (85%) tried to access mental health services.
- Over half (65%) experienced a limit on insurance benefits available.
The possible implications of these findings can have a powerful impact on students. Schools have the opportunity to create environments that are welcoming, healthy, safe and supportive and the role of the mental health professional in schools is crucial to that effort. A genuine partnership between parents and schools will ensure a strong support system to help students reach their average potential.
The survey was a cooperative effort between the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and Parent Action for Healthy Kids (PAFHK).