Addressing Mental Health in Our Schools

Legislators and staff from across the Southern region convened in Atlanta for a policy workshop titled “Addressing the Mental Health Crisis in Our Schools.” Representatives from six CSG South states –Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Carolina – participated in the two-day event.

Organized by the Southern Office of The Council of State Governments (CSG South), the workshop allowed participants to examine state- and region-specific school mental health policy issues. Topics included the importance of school counselors and school psychologists, opportunities to partner with the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on student mental and behavioral health, improving training and policies surrounding school resource officers, and building comprehensive support systems via school-based health centers and expanded telehealth opportunities.

Participants received briefings from experts affiliated with the National Center for School Mental Health; the National Association of School Psychologists; the School-Based Health Alliance; the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; the American School Counselor Association; and the University of Florida’s Education Policy Research Center.

These interactive briefings allowed attendees to engage with presenters to identify common student mental health concerns, share best practices and obstacles, and review recently enacted legislation. By engaging with peers and subject matter experts, participants deepened their understanding of other states’ efforts and successes, along with existing challenges.

CSG South’s Education Committee hosted the workshop. The participants included:

  • Representative Denise Garner, Arkansas
  • Representative Fredrick Love, Arkansas
  • Representative Mandi Ballinger, Georgia
  • Representative Angelika Kausche, Georgia
  • Representative Rebecca Mitchell, Georgia
  • Representative Josie Raymond, Kentucky
  • Representative Amber Baker, North Carolina
  • Senator John Haste, Oklahoma
  • Representative Rhonda Baker, Oklahoma
  • Senator Greg Hembree, South Carolina


Addressing Student Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs The School Counselor: A Critical Resource for Students School-Based Health Centers and Telehealth The Changing Role of Law Enforcement in Schools Student Mental Health and Disengagement in Primary and Secondary Schools NASP Advocacy School Psychologists Are Essential to Student Success School Health Assessment and Performance Evaluation Systems in the South School Psychologists and Mental Health Services School Reentry Considerations