Louisiana schools are committed to encouraging healthy lifestyles among students and have been striving to meet the recommended ratios for school mental health professionals. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra recently sent a letter to governors across the country to emphasize the federal resources available for states and schools to invest in mental health services for students. These competitive scholarships are the largest investment in school mental health this country has ever seen, and are the first in a series of awards that the Department will award over several years. The mental health crisis faced by students has reached a critical point, with more than one in three high school students reporting experiencing mental health problems during the peak of the pandemic.
The Community Preventive Services Working Group recommends School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) as an evidence-based intervention to improve educational and health outcomes in low-income communities. To help promote health awareness, NEDHSA is sponsoring a performance of the Grambling concert choir at Garden & of the Biedenharn Museum in Monroe, Louisiana. The app provides direct access to behavioral health services with a single tap; a description of available behavioral and primary health care services; the locations of mental health and addictive disorders clinics; information on services for people with developmental disabilities; and other helplines from state, regional and national agencies for additional resources. The Department of Education will organize a city hall, in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, to hear directly from students and young people about the importance of social, emotional and mental health. These funds will also help strengthen the portfolio of certified mental health providers who are prepared to work in schools with the greatest needs. Keeping up to date with vaccines, including the bivalent booster vaccine against COVID-19, is the best way to stay safe and enjoy the festival season in Louisiana with confidence.
NEDHSA will safely collect and dispose of expired prescription drugs at several locations in Northeast Louisiana. This collaboration, care coordination and youth participation not only improve literacy and health outcomes for students, school staff and the community, but also contribute to positive educational outcomes such as reducing absenteeism, reducing disciplinary measures and suspensions, and improving graduation rates. These funds have the potential to change lives in significant ways by building mental health infrastructure in schools and communities across the country. These investments will initiate the important work of expanding access to critical mental health supports by increasing the number of healthcare providers in schools.