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Post-Bulletin- Our View: Expand mental health referrals in schools

Mental health is one of those topics that doesn’t come up much in conversation, undoubtedly because it’s an awkward subject and because most of us don’t realize how pervasive it is.

Sen. Al Franken would like to change that. Minnesota’s junior senator has made improving access to mental health services a cornerstone of his political career, advocating the Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity Act, which requires group insurance plans to cover mental health and substance abuse services at the same level as medical and surgical benefits. Earlier this year, he introduced a bill to improve access to mental health services for people in the criminal justice system.

Last week, Franken reintroduced The Mental Health in Schools Act, which would expand access to mental health services in schools throughout Minnesota and the rest of the nation. Franken said 1 in 5 youth suffer from mental illness during their formative years, and 70 percent of those children don’t receive counseling.

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