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A survey of Michigan parents found that support for mental health initiatives in schools is strong within the state.The survey, conducted July 2010, was a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and Parent Action for Healthy Kids (PAFHK), and encompassed Michigan parents with children between the ages of 5 and 26. The parents were asked questions about mental health that focused on five different areas: attitudes about mental health in schools, prevalence of mental health issues and its impact on the child, access to and availability of mental health services, quality of mental health services, and the Individualized Educational Program (IEP).

Among the survey’s findings:

  • There was strong support for training of school staff (82 percent), students (76 percent) and parents (84 percent) around mental health issues.
  • 66 percent of parents felt someone at school currently supported or advocated for their child to be mentally well-adjusted.
  • 71 percent of parents supported mental health services being implemented in schools.
  • 26 percent of parents reported that their child had received a mental health diagnosis by a professional.

Of these parents:

  • 66 percent reported that mental health concerns impacted their child socially, 69 percent that they impacted their child academically and 74 percent said they had an impact on family life.
  • 85 percent tried to access mental health services.
  • 65 percent experienced a limit on insurance benefits available.

Writes PAFHK of the survey’s results, “The possible implications of these findings can have a powerful impact on students. Schools have the opportunity to create environments that are welcoming, healthy, safe and supportive and the role of the mental health professional in schools is crucial to that effort. A genuine partnership between parents and schools will ensure a strong support system to help students reach their greatest potential.”

Source: PRWeb

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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