Proposed bill would ensure access to behavioral health services within school buildings 

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A proposed bill would facilitate a stronger connection between schools and community providers in order for students to have better access to mental health care across Nebraska.

LB852, introduced by Senator Jen Day of District 49, would essentially require every school building in the state to have at least one designated point of contact for mental behavioral health care – for parents and students. This is something only larger public school districts have within Nebraska but Sen. Day is looking to expand that.

“And we believe, you know,  kids spend a significant amount of time in school and a lot of issues related to mental behavior health arise during the school day in terms of academic issues, social issues,” Day said. “And so a lot of times those issues happening so frequently when they’re in school, we believe that it would be really, really helpful to have a person in each building that the family can go to and say, hey okay we need something, who should we go here in the community.”

Sen. Day says we were experiencing a youth mental health crisis long before the pandemic but with COVID, the issue has become deadly and she feels this is an easy, yet small step, to provide a better connection between kids and mental behavioral health care.

A topic she feels very strongly about.

“What’s happening right now with kids is very, very frightening. I have two kids myself a 9-year-old and a 13-year-old and I see what’s happening with them and their peers and how they have been affected by the last couple of years during the pandemic,” Day said.  And I really, truly believe that quality mental behavioral health care is one of the best ways to make sure kids are thriving.”

It has been brought to her attention that some may be concerned with how parents would be involved in this but Senator Day wants to reiterate that these resources would be in combination with the parents.

“Students are not just going to this person on their own, parents would be notified and we’re always involving the parents in this process,” Day said.

The bill has undergone its hearing and is now out of committee.

LB852 was actually introduced last year by Senator Lynne Walz, who has chosen to use her personal priority on this proposed bill, meaning the bill is expected to get time on the floor for debate.

If you would like to learn more on LB852, click HERE.

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