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Nevada organization calls for greater Latino engagement in politics; Gov. Gavin Newsom appears to change course on transgender rights; Nebraska Tribal College builds opportunity 'pipelines,' STEM workforce.'

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House Republicans deadlock over funding days before the government shuts down, a New Deal-style jobs training program aims to ease the impacts of climate change, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas appeared at donor events for the right-wing Koch network.

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An Indigenous project in South Dakota seeks to protect tribal data sovereignty, advocates in North Carolina are pushing back against attacks on public schools, and Arkansas wants the hungriest to have access to more fruits and veggies.

TN School Districts Urged to Focus On Mental Health Support

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Monday, May 22, 2023   

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and an education advocacy group wants school districts in Tennessee and across the country to focus on critical mental health support.

Tennessee ranked 41st in the country when it comes to a higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care for youth.

Denise Forte, president and CEO of The Education Trust, said in the Volunteer State the top concern for parents, communities and teachers is school safety and students' mental health. She explained as a result of the pandemic, they have seen the rate of students' mental health issues increase.

"In states like Tennessee, students have had a really hard time accessing mental-health services," Forte stressed. "One of the things that we also know is that student rates of suicide are going up. Terrible stats there say that one in five has seriously considered suicide, and one in 10 has actually attempted suicide."

Forte argued the statistics prove more work needs to be done. Forte added her group is pleased the federal government has invested money in supporting students' mental health, but pointed out it is important to know if states and school districts are using those funds effectively.

The Education Trust in Tennessee urges school districts to support the social, emotional, academic development and mental-health support of all students more effectively.

"That means everything from making sure students feel a sense of belonging, to they have strong social, emotional supports in the classroom, to even such things as getting rid of exclusionary discipline policies," Forte outlined. "Those are policies such as suspension and expulsion."

Forte emphasized they would like to see more schools focused on bringing in trained adults who will have a strong healthy relationship with students. She added it is also important for Tennessee students to have access to psychologists, counselors and social workers to help foster social, emotional and academic development.


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