OLYMPIA… Sen. Randi Becker, R-Olympia, issued the following statement in response to testimony today on Senate Bill 5389, which would provide mental health care in middle schools and high schools via telemedicine, along with training for teachers and staff on how to identify youth in need of care. The bill was heard by the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee.
“I was so encouraged by the support I heard today for mental health care for youth in schools via telemedicine. It would be such a tremendous tool for early intervention for kids at risk of substance abuse, violence or suicide.
“Rural schools, in particular, don’t have a lot of access to mental health providers in their communities. And it can be difficult for teenagers and their families to follow up outside of school. My bill allows a better path toward care for many students who might otherwise struggle with access.
“In order for the program to work, however, we need to train teachers, administrators and staff to better identify the signs of students who might pose a threat to themselves or others. My bill provides that training hand-in-hand with the telemedicine technology.”