FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new $4.7 billion youth mental health plan at McLane High School on Thursday.
The governor says he chose McLane because of its wellness hub, a facility where counselors and support staff work with students.
“We come here because we wanted to identify success. This is an amazing school.” Said Newsom.
Governor Newsom talked about the climbing rates of mental health issues among children and teens.
“The last two years there’s been a stacking of stress, the likes of which none of us could have conceived of and none of us hope for in the future.” Continued Newsom
Governor Newsom’s plan for Kids’ Mental Health funds mental health services in schools, online, and in clinics. It also includes a streamlined platform for mental health assessment and intervention, more school counselors, expanded clinical treatment, suicide prevention, and support services.
McLane senior Aliyah Barajas says she wasn’t helped when she first needed it.
“At ten years old I self-harmed for the first time.” Said Barajas.
But now, schools like McLane are leading the way in supporting students. Vice Principal Rebecca Aleman uses her background as a counselor to find ways to meet students’ needs.
“Yet even with the tremendous work that we’ve done. It’s still not enough. We have students that we are not able to meet the demand of the students that we have at the pace of high school.” Said Aleman.
Governor Newsom hopes to change the stigma associated with mental health, saying it’s something that touches all Californians.
“My grandfather committed suicide. It was brought deeply into our home. These issues many family members self-medicate every night just to get through the night.” Said Newsom.
The framework provides resources for increasing the number of behavioral health professionals in California by 40,000 and includes 10,000 more school counselors essentially doubling the amount of staff available for students.
Governor Newsom says, “What we are announcing here today is just one component of our comprehensive strategy to systematically connect dots and address the issue of mental health and behavioral health once and for all.”