Senator Declan O’Scanlon introduced a resolution, SR-38, last week that urges local boards of education  to adopt the recommendations of “Building a Foundation for Hope,” the final report of the NJSBA Task Force on Mental Health Services in the Public Schools.

“Given the urgency of the mental health crisis affecting students in New Jersey, it is altogether fitting and proper to urge boards of education in New Jersey to adopt the recommendations,” states the resolution.

The NJSBA task force report includes 71 recommendations that address crisis response policies and protocols, social-emotional learning, suicide prevention, school climate, community outreach, curriculum, professional development, equity, and safety, among other topics.

“NJSBA thanks Senator O’Scanlon for his support on this critical issue, which is central to the safety and emotional well-being of New Jersey’s 1.4 million public school students,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “We urge the Senate to adopt the resolution, which will encourage implementation of policies and strategies designed to promote student health and wellness.”

SR-38 cites several statistics referenced in the NJSBA report, including:

  • According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 20% of American students between the ages of 13 and 18 live with a mental health condition.
  • 37% of students age 14 and older who live with a mental health condition drop out of high school.
  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention estimates that suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 through 24 in New Jersey in 2019.