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Legal Resources | Education Code |  EC  51900.5  

Pupil Instruction; Mental Health Instruction   

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(a) During the next revision of the publication ?Health Framework for California Public Schools? (health framework), the Instructional Quality Commission shall consider developing, and recommending for adoption by the state board, a distinct category on mental health instruction to educate pupils about all aspects of mental health.

(b) As used in this section, ?mental health instruction? shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(1) Reasonably designed and age-appropriate instruction on the overarching themes and core principles of mental health.

(2) Defining common mental health challenges such as depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and anxiety, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

(3) Elucidating the services and supports that effectively help individuals manage mental health challenges.

(4) Promoting mental health wellness, which includes positive development, social connectedness and supportive relationships, resiliency, problem solving skills, coping skills, self-esteem, and a positive school and home environment in which pupils feel comfortable.

(5) Ability to identify warning signs of common mental health problems in order to promote awareness and early intervention so pupils know to take action before a situation turns into a crisis. This should include instruction on both of the following:

(A) How to appropriately seek and find assistance from mental health professionals and services within the school district and in the community for themselves or others.

(B) Appropriate evidence-based research and practices that are proven to help overcome mental health challenges.

(6) The connection and importance of mental health to overall health and academic success as well as to cooccurring conditions, such as chronic physical conditions and chemical dependence and substance abuse.

(7) Awareness and appreciation about the prevalence of mental health challenges across all populations, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses, including the impact of culture on the experience and treatment of mental health challenges.

(8) Stigma surrounding mental health challenges and what can be done to overcome stigma, increase awareness, and promote acceptance. This shall include, to the extent possible, classroom presentations of narratives by peers and other individuals who have experienced mental health challenges, and how they coped with their situations, including how they sought help and acceptance.

(c) In the normal course of recommending curriculum frameworks to the state board, as required by Section 60204, the Instructional Quality Commission shall ensure that one or more experts in the mental health and educational fields provides input in the development of the mental health instruction in the health framework. It is the intent of the Legislature that the Instructional Quality Commission seek experts from culturally, racially, and ethnically diverse communities, representatives from all mental health professions, teachers, counselors, parents, those involved in promoting mental wellness, and those living with a mental health challenge and their families.

(d) This section does not require or authorize the Instructional Quality Commission to recommend new health education content standards.

(Added by Stats. 2013, Ch. 481, Sec. 2.)