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Board Resolution Endorses May 2023 as Mental Health Awareness Month

Board Resolution Endorses May 2023 as Mental Health Awareness Month

The San Diego County Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution endorsing May 2023 as Mental Health Awareness Month. Resolution 2023-06 reads:

WHEREAS mental health is essential to everyone's overall health and well-being; and

WHEREAS behavioral health disorders, including major depression, schizophrenia, panic disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders, affect many children and youth every year, indiscriminate of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or economic status; and

WHEREAS the stress, loss, and increased material hardships of the post-pandemic era have continued to strain the vulnerable mental health of California’s young people; and

WHEREAS 16% of youth report suffering from at least one major depressive episode in the past year, more than 2.7 million youth are experiencing severe major depression, and 60% of youth with major depression do not receive treatment (Mental Health America, 2023); and

WHEREAS, according to a February 2023 press release by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), new data reveal teen girls are experiencing record-high levels of violence, sadness, and suicide risk; LGBTQ+ teens continue to face extremely high levels of violence and mental health challenges; and there are high levels of persistent sadness or hopelessness across all racial and ethnic groups:

  • 57% of teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless; and
  • Nearly 30% of teen girls seriously considered attempting suicide; and
  • 18% of teen girls experienced sexual violence; and
  • 52% of LGBTQ+ students experienced poor mental health; and
  • 22% of LGBTQ+ students attempted suicide; and
  • Reported suicide attempts increased among Black and white youth; and

WHEREAS suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents ages 10-14, preceded only by accidents (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2023); and

WHEREAS 10% of youth covered by private health insurance did not have access to mental health services and on average

WHEREAS, in San Diego County, 41% of students reported not feeling connected to their school, 42% did not feel safe at school, 38% felt chronic sadness/hopelessness, and 15% had considered suicide (California County Scorecard of Children’s Well-Being, 2023); and

WHEREAS a focus on prevention and early intervention efforts could greatly reduce the number of children experiencing serious mental health conditions; and

WHEREAS children, youth, and adults can recover from mental illness and lead full, productive lives in the community; and

WHEREAS since 1949, May has officially been recognized as Mental Health Month; and

WHEREAS each county office of education, school district, school, elected official, business, government agency, health-care provider, organization, and citizen share the burden of mental health issues and has a responsibility to promote mental wellness and support prevention efforts.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the San Diego County Board of Education hereby declares May 2023 as Mental Health Awareness Month and thereby requests that each school district, school, elected official, business, government agency, healthcare provider, organization, and citizen, recommit our community to increasing awareness and understanding of mental health; the steps our children, youth, and adults can take to protect their mental health; and the need for appropriate and accessible services for all people, especially children and youth with mental health conditions.

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