Children’s mental health is a burgeoning field with more and more research focused on the importance of brain development in the first six years of life and the negative and broad impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs.
This has been a legislative focus for me in Olympia personally and as vice chair of the Early Learning and Human Services Committee. I’ve advocated for policies to broaden the provision of social-emotional learning in our public schools, expand funding for school counselors and increase loan forgiveness for those serving mental health needs in underserved communities and fields.
I am honored to have recently been elected Chair of the Children’s Mental Health Work Group, established by the Legislature to address the mental health needs of children. All children need a strong developmental foundation to experience better mental health outcomes. For some children, that means extra support and services. When we reach children and their families early on, we can reduce longer-term needs and make a significant difference in the overall mental health picture for our state.
The first meeting of the Children’s Mental Health Work Group was held on June 20. Throughout the rest of the interim, we will work to identify the barriers to and opportunities for better mental health access for children.
All meetings are open to the public, so please let me and my office know if you would like additional information on the meeting dates at firstname.lastname@example.org.