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Los Angeles Unified Board of Education Unanimously Approves Student Mental Health Week Resolution (5-11-2021)

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News Release

Contact: Shannon Haber, 213-393-1289                                       


Los Angeles Unified Board of Education Unanimously Approves
Student Mental Health Week Resolution 


LOS ANGELES (May 11, 2021) — The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution declaring May 10-14, 2021 as Student Mental Health Week. 

The “Mental Health is Mental Wealth” resolution, authored by Student Board Member Kamarie Brown and Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin, directs the district to make relevant resources available to staff, students and families to build greater awareness and skills around mental health and wellness. It was co-sponsored by the remaining board members.

The resolution also directs Los Angeles Unified to allocate resources equitably and encourages all schools to allocate one week, twice a semester to engage students in wellness and culturally relevant healing practices. 

“Mental health and wellness overall is important because of the impact of institutional racism and of COVID-19 on students, specifically Black and Brown students,” Board Member Brown said. “There are students whose wellness has been disrupted due to the lack of support, attention and services they receive from their second home known as school. A disrupted mind can’t learn. We cannot expect an unwell student to do well in an unwell world.” 

“As a District, it is our responsibility to ensure the well-being of our scholars, both academically and emotionally,” Board Member Ortiz Franklin said. “In addition to the generational trauma our students and communities have faced, the pandemic has hit our Black and Brown communities hardest, requiring an intentionally holistic recovery. Student Mental Health Week is a commitment to that healing process.” 

“Mental health, and access to mental health resources, is an urgent priority and have been central themes in all my recent conversations with students and families,” Board President Kelly Gonez said. “They know, as we all do, that prioritizing a student's mental and emotional well-being is a necessary first step for them to engage in their learning and be successful in the pursuit of their educational goals. I am proud to stand with the Board in support of this resolution.”

“There has never been a more important time to focus on students’ mental health,” Pia V. Escudero, Executive Director of Student Health and Human Services, said. “Within every school community, there are shared experiences of trauma, grief, loss, and isolation. The challenges from this pandemic are great, but even greater is the opportunity to empower our students with resilience, as Los Angeles Unified makes an historic investment in psychiatric social workers and other mental health supports for school sites. Through this groundbreaking commitment by the Superintendent and Board of Education, Los Angeles Unified is bringing to life the vision of Student Board Member Kamarie Brown’s thoughtful resolution.”

“Many of our students are suffering from the losses, sacrifices and disruptions forced on them by COVID-19, especially the necessary yet abrupt transition to distance learning,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “Many of our students were suffering before COVID-19 because of the daily trauma caused by not enough food, housing, health care, help and safe spaces. Additional mental health services will help them heal.”

“Our student board member is leading the way in Los Ángeles,” Board Member Mónica García said. “Thank you, Board Member Brown, for your leadership and advocacy for mental health and wellness for our community!”

“Although May is Mental Health Awareness Month, it is important to educate our students, staff and communities all year long, around the risks and factors associated with mental illnesses,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “As our students return to campus, we will ensure they receive the support they need. I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution that takes preventative measures around mental health issues and supports all aspects of student and family well-being.”

“I appreciate our Student Board Member’s leadership in highlighting the importance of mental health and supporting her fellow students in the wake of the pandemic,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “As we recognize Mental Health Awareness Month this May, there is no better time to bring attention to the District’s need to help students recover academically, mentally, and emotionally from the trauma of this past year.” 

“In this time of uncertainty, the skills and practices of self-care and healing are important for us all, but especially for young people as they enter adulthood,” Board Member Jackie Goldberg said. “Our schools offer these resources, and we encourage our students to take advantage of them.”