Letter, 3/18: LB998 promotes kids' mental health
Mooresville Tribune - 3/22/2018
Our country is in a mental health crisis, as recent events have demonstrated. We need to take better care of our children's mental health.
Sen. Lynne Walz has offered a solution in LB998. The bill will provide an important opportunity for our state to improve our children's mental health.
The core of LB998 is to create the "Collaborative School Behavioral and Mental Health Program," which will leverage funds and public resources to promote our children's personal mental health.
LB998 will place a social worker in every Educational Service Unit (ESU). This social worker will train teachers and staff to connect children and families with community resources that promote mental health.
Sen. Walz is a former teacher. She realizes our communities have existing resources to support children. The personal success and well-being of children must be a shared community endeavor.
The well-being of students is essential to ensuring that they learn, graduate, and contribute their gifts to our communities. The opposite also holds true: We all have something to lose if children's needs are not met, whether it is lost potential, lost time in the classroom focusing on academics, the cost of a community's response to a crisis or even the long-term impact of a young person entering the criminal justice system.
So many lives have been lost in tragic school shootings across the country when children's mental health needs go unmet.
LB998 is based on a model piloted in Omaha that succeeded in improving parent engagement, participation in counseling and delivery of evidence-based, best-practice interventions for children.
Every day, our children face social and emotional challenges, and our teachers, parents and school staff work to ensure our children get high test scores, and learn to be successful members of our communities.
It will be an important day for Nebraska when LB998 is enacted to support our educators, families and children.
Connie Duncan, Lincoln