PENNSYLVANIA: Teens Push for Better Services, Culture Surrounding Mental Health in Philly Schools
June 08, 2018
Philadelphia high school students are lobbying for more mental health services in their school district. The organizing group, Youth United for Change, carried out a survey of district high schools last year and found that mental health was one of students’ top concerns. Based on that data, the group developed a campaign to encourage the district to help address stress and trauma in schools. According to district officials, plans are underway to better respond to the mental health needs of students. The district recently collaborated with the city Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services to implement the Philadelphia Support Team for Education Program, hiring social workers for 22 schools. Youth United for Change member Yesenia Rodriguez said she hopes a culture change will help foster a more supportive and trusting environment in schools. “Mental health, it isn’t just like a one-time thing, or an initiative, or one big project. It has to be a daily thing,” she said.
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