Proposed Bill to Increase Mental Health Professionals for Michigan Students

A bill is making it’s way through the Michigan legislature that would give Michigan students better access to mental health professionals.

SchoolMichigan ranks 49 out of 50 states in available counselors for students. That’s one counselor for every 671 students. According to a report from the American School Counselor Association, the ratio should be one counselor for every 250 students.

Furthermore, there is one psychologist for every 1,521 students in Michigan. The National Association of School Psychologist recommends a ratio of one psychologist for every 500 students.

The bill is designed to establish the Student Mental Health Apprenticeship for Retention and Training (SMART) Program.  The program would incentivize school counselors, social workers and psychologists to continue working within their school systems and grow their services.

The Operations Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Rick Coates says they want to end the stigma.

“Mental illness is treated so much differently than any other type of disease. There’s such a big stigma around mental illness that we really what to start with young adults, middle school, high school aged kids. Get them to feel comfortable and understand that if you’re battling whatever it might be you know you’re not along. It’s not something to be ashamed,” Coates says.