MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's Department of Mental Health Commissioner Lynn Beshear called for mental health prevention and intervention to ensure school safety in an op-ed Saturday.
Beshear said the state must focus on identifying behaviors that trigger school violence and proactively treating mental health. The state's school-based mental health services put clinicians into schools to counsel students. Only 36 school systems in Alabama have the services and Beshear advocated for expanding it to the other 106.
One in five U.S. children experience a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder, the American Institutes for Research reported. Mentally ill children often drop out of school and end up in the juvenile justice system, according to the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice.
Gov. Kay Ivey's newly created school security council will review mental health.