Why is nobody talking about this?

Neighbors and friends, 

I’ve been a mental health professional for many years and I’ve never seen children’s mental health this bad. Friends have called me, sometimes in the middle of night, to ask if they’re the only parents going through this. I want to be very clear as both a mom and mental health expert – you are not alone. Families across all neighborhoods, income brackets and origins are facing this same challenge.  Today, I’ll be sharing some updates from the recent a legislative committee hearing on this issue, as well as what I’ve been up to in our community.   

We need to talk about children’s mental health 

Children and youth in our state are suffering. When the Covid-19 pandemic brought to light existing behavioral health challenges among young people, I knew we needed to take action. Young people are experiencing isolation, fear, school and social disruptions, and far too many are dealing with the grief and trauma of losing a family member. Behavioral health is key to all the work we do as parents, caregivers and policymakers to support children and youth, and we need to double down our efforts as the pandemic drags on.  

Last week, the House Children, Youth & Families Committee met for a work session on youth behavioral health to explore solutions to help address the mental health needs of students in school and child care settings. We heard compelling testimony directly from families and providers about the challenges people face in accessing care, even after a provider determines that behavioral health care is desperately needed. You can watch the powerful work session here 

This year, the legislature made landmark investments to help ensure an equitable and lasting recovery from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. As vice chair of the House Children, Youth & Families Committee, addressing the behavioral health impacts of Covid-19 on youth in our state is one of my main priorities for the 2022 legislative session.  

Families can access referral services and information about youth behavioral health here 

Visiting WCC’s cutting edge cybersecurity work 

I recently had a great opportunity to visit Whatcom Community College’s National Cybersecurity Training & Education Center (NCyTE ) with Governor Inslee and industry leaders to learn about the important work being done to address cybersecurity today and prepare for the future. It is so exciting to know that WCC is training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and cybersecurity defense right here in our area.  

Here are just a few of the Center’s recent achievements: 

  • NCyTE was recently designated by the National Science Foundation as the new Advanced  Technological Education (ATE) Center for Cybersecurity Education, a result of the college’s nationally recognized leadership in the area of cybersecurity.   
  • In August, Dr. Hiyane-Brown, WCC’s President, was invited to attend the White House summit on National Cybersecurity and met with President Biden, members of his cabinet and national security team, and private sector and education leaders.   
  • Also in August, the National Science Foundation announced a $7.5 million grant to significantly expand the Center’s work in helping colleges train cybersecurity faculty and adopt leading-edge curriculum aimed at fast-tracking students into cybersecurity careers. 

Thanks for reading! Please don’t hesitate to reach out at 360-746-3744 or Alicia.Rule@leg.wa.gov. It’s an honor to serve the 42nd Legislative District. 



Alicia Rule