After the tragic shooting at Parkland, Florida’s government has been working to ensure a situation like that doesn’t happen again. Legislation has recently passed that will increase funding for mental health screenings. However, it will also ask students to report if they’ve ever received mental health services.
Mental health advocates are already concerned. The language in the law around this is vague and doesn’t clarify what needs to be reported. Many parents are concerned that having that information on school records could impede children’s future such as getting into college.
Mental health professionals are also concerned about how that information will be used. The Department of Education hasn’t clarified and is leaving it up to local school districts to enforce.
Forced reporting could lead to stigmatization and bullying. The law also doesn’t make clear what mental health services have to be disclosed.
Overall, further clarification is needed. Parkland was a tragedy, but school officials knew the shooter had mental health issues even without this law requiring reporting, leaving many wondering how useful this law will really be. There have been few laws put in place since to address how to help and stop those suffering from mental health problems from committing similar acts.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, or you believe someone may be a danger to others, please contact a mental health professional right away.