Schools have health nurses….but MENTAL health nurses? A movement has started in Missouri to deal with the mental health of students.

Officials from more than 20 school districts have met with University of Missouri experts in education and mental health to start the movement. The thrust of the Partnership for Educational Renewal thinks schools should promote positive mental health in the same way schools promote good physical health.

One of the organizers of the movement is Doctor Karen Weston, says the program should begin with pre-kindergarten education and go through 12th grade because more than half of all adults with mental illness say they recognized they had problems before the age of 14.. .

Weston says most problems in elementary grades are behavioral—anger or lack of attention. But she says internal disorders tend to go unnoticed until junior high school or high school–anxiety problems or depression, for example.

She says more intensive mental health services later can be costly. But prevention programs and early promotion of mental health are inexpensive. The partnership wants the state makes it a policy for schools to actively pursue mental health promotion and help get children into treatment if they need it

The group hopes to have specific recommendations by the end of next year.


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