100 signatures reached
To: Mayor Lori Lightfoot and City Council, Chicago Public Schools
Mental Health Matters
There has been a steady rise in the number of children and youth needing programs and services that promote positive mental health and provide early intervention and treatment. How are schools responding to this challenge? Research shows that our nation’s school children have significant unidentified mental health needs, and many receive no treatment for the mental health challenges they face (Brown, Green,et al. 2014; Kataoka, Zhang, et al.2002). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration published a journal speaking on the consequences of unidentified mental health issues within adolescents. Problems they listed are as follows: serious difficulties at home, with peers, and in school; a higher risk for dropping out; and increased risk of engaging in substance use, criminal behavior, and other risk-taking behaviors. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014; Vos et al., 2012).
Why is this important?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. On behalf of all student athletes and students, we hope that you will take this time as an opportunity to invest in their mental health. The Mental Health Reform Act embedded in the 21st Century Cures Act includes funding to promote integrated physical and mental health care. A policy requiring student athletes to speak with a mental health professional at least once during their sport’s season. Just as students are required to have annual physicals and dental check up requirements for player eligibility. We are asking you to work on creating a mental health component to add those requirements. In addition, athletes experience emotional trauma from being out of the game due to an injury. If an injury occurs that causes an athlete to be out at least 3-4 months, speaking with a mental health professional prior to returning to play would be just as beneficial. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I am asking policy-makers to support a student athlete mental health initiative.