Florida To Require Mental Health Instruction In Grades 9-12

July 21, 2019

Florida will  require every public school in the state to provide students with at  least five hours of mental health instruction beginning in the sixth grade under a mandate that was approved by the state Board of Education.

The state will now require school districts to annually provide a minimum of five hours of instruction to grades 6-12 students related to youth mental health awareness and assistance. The instruction must include awareness an of signs and symptoms, the process of seeking help for themselves or others and what to do or say to peers struggling with mental health disorders. Students will also be made aware of resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

In May, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced Hope for Healing Florida, a new multi-agency mental health and substance abuse campaign. The Hope for Healing Floridacampaign will leverage, in part, the resources of private sector partners to produce and distribute mental health and substance abuse resource materials throughout the state at no cost to taxpayers. Those resources will help guide families in need to meaningful help in a timely fashion.

“Ron and I have traveled the state and have heard from many families who voice concern about the struggles that adversely affect so many of our children,” Casey DeSantis said. We know that 50 percent of all mental illness cases begin by age 14, so we are being proactive in our commitment to provide our kids with the necessary tools to see them through their successes and challenges. Providing mental health instruction is another important step forward in supporting our families.”

Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said, “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.  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.”


20 Responses to “Florida To Require Mental Health Instruction In Grades 9-12”

  1. Harold A Maio on July 22nd, 2019 1:01 pm

    —-Removing stigma from mental illness???

    You mean of course ending teaching it. It is time we understood the harm we do in supporting those taught or teaching us to direct it.

  2. J on July 22nd, 2019 11:46 am

    @EMD You couldn’t be more wrong. Mental health issues have been around as long as humans have walked the earth. The only difference now is that as a society we are paying attention to it more and we also have more understanding and ways to identify potential mental health issues.

    You mean to tell me that a Roman soldier in the times of Christ didn’t experience some sort of PTSD after shoving a sword through an enemy soldier’s head, but now it’s a problem all of a sudden? For as long as humans have experienced traumatic events, there have been mental health issues.

    God isn’t always the answer, and sometimes he doesn’t always answer our prayers. That’s why he gave us brains and reason. We need to help ourselves more and rely less on God.

  3. Bonnie on July 22nd, 2019 11:24 am

    I fear it will be used for indoctrination. And mental health problems get their start long before 9th grade. Parenting and screen time are major problems from day 1.

  4. shaking my head on July 22nd, 2019 10:25 am

    It should start well before high school. But here again, the government thinks it knows best….hold on people, the ride has just begun.

  5. Alan on July 22nd, 2019 8:40 am

    Th comment by Ms DeSantis that this will not cost taxpayers any money is disingenuous at the least. This will either require new positions at every school or more than likely, a new teacher certification program with a pay stipend attached to it that all teachers will get, whether they are involved in the program or not.

  6. Kate on July 22nd, 2019 7:59 am

    The state could be more helpful with this if they put up the money to have more professional counselors in schools with mandatory time spent with each student. Dont expect kids to recognize problems.

  7. SW on July 22nd, 2019 6:50 am

    They’re from the government and they’re here to help.

  8. Teresa on July 22nd, 2019 2:51 am

    Teachers and counselors definitely need to learn more about mental illness and listen to parents when parents have a concern for their child having issues. I tried to get Jay High school to help get my daughter help and the teachers and counselors refused…

  9. Anastasia B on July 21st, 2019 9:58 pm

    We have seniors who can’t properly punctuate a decent sentence, let alone compose a paragraph. Yet, they’re going to be taught how to self-diagnose mental illness. Yes, this was a REALLY great decision.

  10. No Excuses on July 21st, 2019 4:51 pm

    All great points being made in these blog posts. I tend to agree with JQ Public. We still have a way to go to determine the nuts and bolts of this program, but overall, I believe it is well worthwhile. Some children need extensive help. Most will do just fine knowing where the resources are, and with some idea of why they may be feeling the way they do. I say it’s a positive. I’m a teacher and I am well qualified to teach this five hour mandate to my high school students through practical and personal experience in dealing with mental illness.

  11. A citizen on July 21st, 2019 2:21 pm

    Start by banning violent video games. Stop persuading our kids to behave by giving them candy & telling them to report their parents when they get disciplined. Stop trying to pit kids against their parents period. Stop thinking others have more rights than a parent.

  12. anne 1of2 on July 21st, 2019 2:16 pm

    i cannot support this. Leave our kids alone and get out of their heads. They will get labeled by a person who has no right to do so. I listened to a crusader a year ago. He was full of it Counseling a teen at a restaurant no less. I had to wonder what his credentials were.

  13. John Q. Public on July 21st, 2019 12:49 pm

    Are you saying that people that adhere to religion do not suffer from mental illness?

    For those calling this “indoctrination,” you are part of the problem. I know my life and many others would have benefited from some positive mental health guidance in school, especially during a period in our lives where emotions can be hard to understand and process. Simple talk therapy/counseling can work wonders.

    Removing stigma from mental illness and helping treat serious mental issues early on is crucial, and I’m glad to see the state of Florida making some positive headway.

  14. EMD on July 21st, 2019 11:19 am

    Mental health was not an issue in our public schools until God was kicked out. This could be another way to indoctrinate our children instead of educating them in the truth and the things they need to know. Our children do not need yet more indoctrination. They need God.

  15. Phil on July 21st, 2019 10:49 am

    What in the name of Sam Hill is this? No wonder private and home schooling has become the norm, nobody wants their kids exposed to this.

  16. Curtis on July 21st, 2019 10:04 am

    Unfortunately, the plans being presented here wont likely have a huge effect, we have had compulsory sex education and drug abuse awareness classes, DARE, MADD, cops on campuses, metal detectors, specialized counselors, and kids taking every kind of doctor or clinic prescribed psychoactive upper or downer to make them sit still and focus. The school system and society as a whole are still losing children to the real problem that is ruining our whole world, SIN. The effects of not having a cohesive and set system of instruction that outlines discipline, respect and real love between human beings are abundant in our society. Removal of inhibitions of conscience and validating the notion that all morality is relative is what has brought us here today as a nation and world. When people are told for generations that “there are no bad ideas”, “Cute selfies=real beauty”, and the fallacious “only God can judge me!” their self image is being reflected back to them through a dim mirror. By being unaccountable to God, people to a large degree have become unaccountable to one another; to their parents, to their spouses, to their children and to their neighbors.
    Mental Illness is real, its the evidence of a real internal spiritual issue, whereby a person’s thought processes have been disrupted and corrupted by anguish from Pain. That pain is from a lack of Love. That lack of Love is the real root of our problems. Removal of prayer and The Ten Commandments were not what got us in this situation, they were results of this present condition. Jesus knows the hearts of all people and he also knew that all people require love first, and from there is where the solutions to these problems comes.

  17. Tim on July 21st, 2019 9:49 am

    Really? And is the State of Florida going to increase funding to schools to cover the cost for adding this program or will they expect the counties to take monies from other programs? The State is always great to “mandate” programs, but then not put funding in place to cover the cost.

  18. Anne on July 21st, 2019 8:36 am

    Good idea, however,
    How will it be Funded? Schools frequently get “Mandates” but NO FUNDING.
    What will be required of the School Staff?
    Which teachers are Certified to provide this instruction?
    From which part of an already packed school day(s) will 5 hours per year be taken?
    Who will write the Curriculum?
    Will there be measurements of progress? Testing of students.
    What happens if a student exhibits or has underlying very serious issues what role will be required of the teacher, school staff, district and possibly law enforcement and of course PARENTS.
    Does the scope of this Mandate include mental-psychological evaluation of students by teachers or staff who may not be fully-qualified?

    Education Commissioner Corcoran’s quote, “This is just the beginning.” makes us wonder What is the True End Goal?

  19. mike o'farrell on July 21st, 2019 7:58 am

    One has got to be a little skeptical about this. It sure sounds like a good idea and looks like it is much needed. On the other hand, is it really just a first step in a giant marketing program which will profit the source of the resources in time? Is it a mental health Trojan Horse targeting our children?

  20. Doug Martin on July 21st, 2019 2:53 am

    There should be great support from all legal gun owners, since this is what we’ve been asking for – Addressing mental health issues early in life. Kids will at least know how to get the help they need before its too late. Great job!

Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) NorthEscambia.com reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.