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Student Mental Health Alliance


Mission Statement

Our GENup executive team is made up of students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic who recognize that the shift to distance learning has unearthed a failure of public education in supporting student mental health. In light of this, Students Mental Health Alliance is spearheading statewide youth efforts to support, pass, and sign into law a slate of monumental bills such as SB 14 and SB 224 to support student mental health. Students For Mental Health mobilize California’s students to campaign for monumental bills to support not just student mental health, but the mental health of all Californians. We hope to generate support that would ensure that these bills pass in committee hearings, on the Legislature floor, and are ultimately signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. 


Policy Slate

SB14 Mental Health Days (Sen. Portantino)

SB14 Fact Sheet

  • SB 14 would require the California Department of Education to identify an evidence-based training program for a local educational agency (LEA) to use to train classified and certificated school employees having direct contact with pupils in youth mental and behavioral health.

  • The bill will also permit 10-12th grade students to receive training on the signs and symptoms of a behavioral health disorder. It will ensure that youth absences from school for a mental health issue or appointment will be an excused absence in the same fashion absences for physical health ailments or appointments are treated.

  • Requires 50% of district staff working directly with students to have mental health training & optional training for students grades 10-12. Evidence-based training programs provide instruction on how students, teachers, school staff can best provide referrals to mental health services, substance use disorder services, or other support to individuals in the early stages of developing a mental illness or substance use disorder.

AB58 Suicide Prevention Plans (Sen. Salas)

  • Establishes a pilot program for school health centers at 5 LEAs in counties with high rates of youth suicide and self-harm.

  • Requires LEAs to update suicide prevention policy and revise training materials by 2022.

  • Requires LEAs to provide suicide awareness and prevention training to all teachers at the beginning of each school year.

AB988 Mental Health Hotline (Sen. Bauer-Kahan)

  • This bill would establish the 988 Crisis Hotline Center using digits “988” in compliance with laws governing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Office of Emergency Services would take individualized action to implement the hotline system.

  • This hotline system would require hiring experienced directors, designating 988 crisis centers, and providing crisis intervention services. Crisis services include mobile crisis teams, stabilization services, and counties must coordinate with the 988 crisis hotline centers to access services. 

  • This bill would create an appropriated fund requiring fees to be deposited into the 988 crisis hotline centers.

SB224 Mental Health Curriculum (Sen. Portantino)

SB224 Fact Sheet

  • Requires all students grades 1-12 to receive age-appropriate mental health education from instructors at least once at every school level (one time during elementary school, one time during middle school, and one time during high school.) 

  • As a result, students will receive instruction on mental health at least three separate times during their schooling.

  • Education about mental health is one of the best ways to increase awareness, empower students to seek help, and reduce the stigma associated with mental health challenges.


AB309 Model Referral Protocols (Sen. Gabriel)

  • Develop a protocol to address pupil mental health concerns. Authorizes the governing board to employ certified individuals for the purpose of developing the protocol. 

  • Requires that the department post model referral protocols onto its internet website and funds would be appropriated for its purpose in the annual Budget Act.

AB586 Support for Student Mental Health Services

  • Existing law requires schools to notify pupils no less than twice during the school year on gaining access to mental health services on campus or in the community.

  • The Mental Health Services Act provides grants to school districts, county offices of education, or charter schools for the purposes of funding mental health resources, existing law.

  • This bill enacts legislation that developed a two-year grant program to assist LEAs in building infrastructure and partnerships to secure funds for mental health services.

SB21 Mental Health License Plates (Sen. Glazer)

  • Establishes a special license plate program to fund a Mental Health Awareness Fund in the State Treasury. 

  • Revenue from license plates to be used for mental health services in public schools.

SB293 Student Mental Health Services (Sen. Limon)

SB293 Fact Sheet

  • Requires the State Department of Health Care Services to standardize forms required for Medical student access to Specialty Mental Health Services.

  • Mandates creation of training frameworks to educate county mental health services staff on proper completion of said forms.

  • Form standardization will ensure that contractors and mental health plans are not only able to meet local, state, and federal audit requirements, but more importantly, that providers in the public mental health space can spend more time with patients.

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