SB1181: Mental Health Screenings for Students in Pennsylvania

 

Summary

This legislation will require depression screenings for students across Pennsylvania.

 

Currently, there are various mandatory health requirements for students, such as dental exams and vision and hearing screenings, but there is no required mental health screening. This legislation will mandate a depression screening along with their required physical exams in sixth and eleventh grade.

 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 20 percent of youth ages 13 through 18 live with a brain health condition that can drastically effect their emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Lack of proper diagnosis can result in serious risk-taking behaviors such as dropping out of school, substance abuse or self-medication, or self-harm. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for youth ages 12-18, while half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin my age 14. 80-90 percent of adolescents who are diagnosed for depression are treated successfully, but many cases are missed altogether.

 

This bill allows parents to choose who conducts the screening and also allows them to opt their child out of this requirement. To ensure the privacy of each student’s information, no record of the screening shall be permitted to be part of a student’s academic record. Additionally, the bill does not mandate that the school districts perform any of the screenings nor that they receive the results of the screening – only that they receive confirmation that one has occurred.

 

Sponsors

Reschenthaler, Argall, Vulakovich, Boscola, and Regan

 

  • Referred to EDUCATION, May 30, 2018
  • Reported as amended from EDUCATION, June 12, 2018
  • First consideration, June 12, 2018
  • Second consideration, June 13, 2018
  • Re-referred to APPROPRIATIONS, June 13, 2018