U.S. Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota addresses Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2019

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — U.S. Senator Tina Smith from Minnesota is proposing more funds for mental health in schools.  

Recently, she opened up about her own struggles. 

“I definitely wasn’t living my best life. I really wasn’t living at all, and that’s the reality for millions of Americans,” Smith said. 

KELOLAND’s Whitney Fowkes traveled to the Adrian, Minnesota school district for their reaction to Senator Smith’s request. 

With the Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2019, Smith is hoping to provide 2-hundred million dollars in funding to public and tribal schools and community-based organizations. 

Adrian High School’s principal says she sees the need for mental health resources, every day. 

‚ÄúThere are services out there but they are severely underfunded and so we see a lot of turnover so if we could get more money really funneled to the right places we’d be in a much better spot,” Cate Koehne, Adrian High School principal, said. 

Principal Koehne says Senator Smith’s proposal is a step in the right direction. The act would also recognize best practices for the delivery of mental health help. 

I think that the funding would definitely help kids to try to figure out things that they’re going through out of school. That then is brought in school, so I think that that would be totally beneficial, absolutely,” Sharyn Story, Adrian High School counselor, said. 

The money would also go toward training teachers, families and community members to recognize when a student is experiencing a mental health crisis 

We have a school based mental health therapist that comes into the school only once a week, but with that, that’s through a grant, so that’s something that maybe this funding, or with this we could bring in more of instead of just one day a week,” Sharyn Story said. 

The Senator’s proposal could also lead to stronger partnerships between schools and community-based organizations. 

Those services are kind of hit and miss and really have a huge amount of turnover so it would be really great to get some consistency and some people who aren’t being pulled so many directions,” Koehne said. 

To read the Mental Health Services for Students Act click here.

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