GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – NC Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with the Department of Public Instruction to provide mental health care in public schools.
According to NCDHHS, only half of the counties across the state have child or adolescent psychiatrist care. With the plan that was released Tuesday, the goal is for every student to never have to experience a behavioral health crisis.
Gov. Roy Cooper said during his State of the State address at the beginning of March that supporting students also means more mental health care. He added the youth mental health crisis cannot be ignored.
To put support into action, NCDHHS Senior Advisor for Children and Families explained they’re introducing more resources to schools through the “NC School Behavioral Health Action Plan.”
“A big part of this plan is making sure that [in] school districts and areas that might not otherwise have access to care that young people can access that care in school,” said Hanaleah Hoberman.
The plan includes school-based tele-behavioral health services to eliminate transportation needs and training teachers in mental health first aid.
Diane Taylor who is a Pitt County Parent representative for NC Parent Advisory Council said more mental health resources have been needed for a long time.
“The grand scope is that we are able to help people and our children to be whole, human beings,” said Taylor. “And that means helping them not just educationally but also behaviorally and mentally so hopefully, this will give us an opportunity to treat the whole child.”
But there’s concern over teacher burnout.
“I am concerned about our teachers and how much they have on them. And the idea of helping with behavioral issues in addition to education issues is overwhelming, even for me who works in behavioral health so I can’t imagine what our teachers are thinking,” said Taylor.
Training within the plan has already started. More strategies in the plan will begin later.
“We are looking for funding to be able to start those in the next school year,” said Hoberman.