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Mental health teacher training bill passes state Senate

students and teachers in masks in classroom
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A bill to provide Michigan teachers with training to spot students’ mental health needs has cleared the Senate.

Under the bill, the Department of Education would work with other state and local partners to create new mental health training standards.

Democratic state Senator Sylvia Santana is the lead sponsor. She says the measure would help teachers identify needs rather than diagnose them.

“Mental health and behavioral health issues have increased across, not only our state but other states,” Santana said. “And now that we’re not stigmatizing mental health, I think that it’s very important that people get the necessary support that they need.”

The new training would help educators learn how to spot warning signs for conditions like depression, eating disorders, or self-harm.

The bill has support from the Michigan Education Association.

Public affairs director Doug Pratt said it’s important to give teachers help in the classroom.

“We need more time, more support to do the job of educating students. And more professionals like school counselors, social workers, psychologists, to ensure that students’ mental health needs are being met,” Pratt said.

Supporters say teachers are ideal people to recognize if a student is dealing with an issue because of their daily interactions.

It passed the Senate by a unanimous vote. And now goes to the state House.

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