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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

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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