Rep. Napolitano, Baldwin Park USD & Baldwin Park Kaiser Permanente Promote Kids’ Mental Wellness
“If you or a classmate is struggling, speak up. Remember, it is always okay to ask for help,” Napolitano told students. “Parents and teachers, we appreciate your constant support of our children, and we encourage you to continue to promote mental wellness at home and in the classroom. Many thanks to BPUSD and Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park for helping us fight stigma and putting children’s mental health—an issue near and dear to my heart—at the forefront. We must continue to address this critical issue throughout the year, not just during the month of May.”
In observance of National Mental Health Awareness Month, Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program performed “It’s Stop Time,” a 50-minute play designed for students in grades 3-5, that highlights the importance of self-efficacy in managing conflict. Both parents and students in attendance were entertained by a vibrant cast of characters who learned best practices when dealing with tense situations—they learned to stop, breathe, and choose an appropriate course of action. Exposure to violence can lead to negative mental health outcomes including substance abuse, depression, and suicide, so managing conflict before it leads to more serious consequences is a critical component of fostering mental wellness.
- Napolitano secured federal funds for a youth suicide prevention program in 2001, after learning that one in three Latina teens had contemplated suicide. Four local schools partnered with health care provider Pacific Clinics to offer on-site, culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services for students.
- With Los Angeles County assistance, the program has since expanded to 26 local elementary, middle and high schools and currently has a waiting list.
- The program serves as a model for H.R. 1211, the Mental Health in Schools Act, bipartisan legislation which would create a total of $200 million in grant funding for 200 schools across the country to partner with local nonprofits to provide early intervention and preventive services for young people with mental health issues.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
For the Congressional May Mental Health Awareness Month calendar, visit https://napolitano.house.gov/legislative-work/may-mental-health-awareness-month.