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Michigan lawmakers introduce bill to help prevent potential mental health crisis among students

New legislation would require Michigan educators to receive professional training in recognizing and responding to mental health concerns in students
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 10:32 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (03/25/2021) - The COVID-19 pandemic brought on unimaginable stress.

For adults, it changed the way we work, the way we eat, and the way interact with people every day.

For teenagers and children, however, it changed the way they learn and grow during a critical time in their development. The potential consequences of that repeated stress has the potential to last much longer than the pandemic itself.

Michigan lawmakers want to do something to address the problem, and it seems teachers are on board.

The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America Survey for 2020 is revealing that Americans have been profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but one group may be at greater risk during the pandemic: Gen Z teens and young adults, many who have spent the past year attending school online.

”Not having that face-to-face time takes a toll on our kids and especially our high school students who are used to being very social and with their friends all the time,” Karen Christian said.

Christian is the President of the United Teachers of Flint. She’s finding out about a bill that was introduced in the Michigan Senate on Thursday, requiring Michigan educators to get professional training in recognizing and responding to mental health concerns in students.

”My first reaction is it’s about time. We have a lot of our students who have these emotional issues and a lot of times as teachers we don’t recognize because we don’t know what signs we’re looking for. I think it’s a great start for us to be able to figure out what our students are going through and how we can get them help,” Christian said.

State Senator, Sylvia Santana from Michigan’s Third District brought the bill to the table, and she says it already has support from Democrats and Republicans.

Christian says that’s a good sign for students in the long run.

”If we have students who are having those type of issues, we can get them help and that help can continue with them even after they’re finished with high school,” Christian said.

Santana says she hopes she can get this to the Governor’s desk by the summer time in time for next school year.

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