NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Students across the state are asking for additional mental health care inside of their schools.
On Thursday morning, hundreds of students walked out of school, demanding changes to address the ongoing mental health crisis. They made their voices heard on the mental health issue and school leaders were on the New Haven Green to respond to what they had to say.
Nearly 150 students from Wilbur Cross High School, Metro High School, Hill House High School, Career High School, Amistad High School, CO-OP High School and the Sound School will join the walkout. Students are demanding additional mental health services within the New Haven Public School system.
The group was organized by the City Youth Coalition. They are asking city leaders to take $6 million from the police budget and reinvest it in mental health services in the district.
“Explore all means to increase the number of school psychologists and school social workers and counselors,” said Jamelia Washington.
“The question of whether we’ve invested enough or is it the right mix of services is a legitimate question, and we respect our student’s voices,” said Justin Harmon, Communications Director for New Haven Public Schools.
One in four Americans suffers from mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Disorders. Many of them are students, due to the pandemic.
The pandemic forced many students to learn from home, leaving many feeling isolated, lacking social skills, and suffering from other problems.
Governor Ned Lamont is celebrating the legislation that puts $100 Million of funding toward mental health for school children. The legislation comes as the Killingly Board of Education is weighing its options on mental health after voting down a school-based mental health care center.
Killingly held a public comment where several people asked the board for a mental health counseling center inside their High School. This is on the heels of the Governors’ announcement of major funding for youth Mental Health initiatives. As the state doubled down on funding for mental health chanting parents and students rallied for a mental health center inside their high school after the board of education voted it down last month.
“I would have suicidal thoughts During school so I couldn’t focus on my schoolwork, I wasn’t even in my class half the time while I was at school. As someone who has experienced it, having something like this in school would be so much help. I don’t see how they could vote no,” shared a Killingly High School student.