Schools in Florida required to teach mental health instruction to students
The Florida Board of Education voted Wednesday to approve a mandate requiring public schools in the state to teach mental health instruction to all students in sixth through 12th grades.
First lady Casey DeSantis helped spearhead the effort after announcing the creation of a new multi-agency mental health and substance abuse campaign called Hope for Healing Florida in June.
Schools will be required to teach at least five hours of instruction related to youth mental health awareness and assistance but will need to determine which courses that instruction is taught in and come up with their own curriculum for the program.
“This is just the beginning. It’s no secret that mental illness robs students of the ability to reach their full potential, and we are joining forces to combat this disease and give our students the tools they need to thrive,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran in a released statement. “We are going to reinvent school-based mental health awareness in Florida, and we will be the number one state in the nation in terms of mental health outreach and school safety – all because of the Governor’s and First Lady’s remarkable vision.
"As usual, we will be a model of innovation and reform for other states to mimic. First lady DeSantis has taken the lead to get the ball rolling with her recent Hope for Healing launch, and we are building on the momentum of her great leadership.”
Local school districts in the Tampa Bay area were not ready to comment on the program on Thursday, saying they need more information from the state.