After the tragic shooting in Parkland, the state government in Florida has been working to ensure a situation like that doesn’t happen again. Legislation has recently been 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 in the past. This is a cause for concern for many mental health advocates. The language in the law is vague and doesn’t clarify what needs to be reported. Many parents are concerned that having that information included in 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 how this sensitive information will be utilized. Forced reporting of past mental health services could lead to stigmatization and bullying. The law also doesn’t make clear what specific 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 any legal requirement, leaving many to wonder 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.
The confusion and recent legislation in the wake of Parkland concerns many parents with children who suffer from mental health issues. Even though it is well known that adolescents struggle with a variety of mental health problems, including depression, self-harm, eating disorders, and ADD / ADHD, it is also becoming clear that many schools are not equipped to handle difficult mental health diagnoses. For anyone looking for mental health services for their son or daughter, Raul J. Rodriguez provides evaluations and treatment of complex mental health disorders in adolescents. Contact us today to learn more.