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California Invests in Kids’ Mental Health With New $4.7B Plan

Back-to-school season is in full swing, and for many kids, the return to the classroom after two years of anything-but-normal learning brings a lot of anxiety.

It’s part of a wider national pattern of increased depression and anxiety in children, which California hopes to counter with a new $4.7 billion master plan to help improve mental health services for kids.

The Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health will actually help people up to age 25, with incentives for health counselors to work in schools for at least 2 years in exchange for a $20,000 scholarship.

There are also plans to add 10,000 more counselors to California schools.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the plan on Thursday at an event in Fresno.

“Mental and behavioral health is one of the greatest challenges of our time,” he said in a statement about the plan. “As other states take away resources to support kids’ mental health, California is doubling down with the most significant overhaul of our mental health system in state history.”

“The Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health is premised on a very simple belief: every single kid deserves to have their mental health supported. That’s the California Way – putting our kids first.”

Also among the goals of the plan are intervening early, before kids’ mental health worsens, increasing clinic and treatment spots, adding resources for parents, de-stigmatizing help for children, and making it easier to receive healthcare coverage and for schools to provide treatment.

Some services are already available for families, with the Children’s Mental Health Resources Hub already online. The hub includes a number of hotlines to call for help, lists of signs parents can look out for in their children, and toolkits for schools and teachers.

It’s part of an ongoing effort to overhaul mental health in California, following $4.7 billion invested over the past three years “to boost coverage options and public awareness so all children and youth are routinely screened, supported, and served.”

“The funding creates new virtual platforms and establishes a new pipeline for the mental health workforce, adding 40,000 new mental health workers in the state,” the statement read.

You can read the full master plan by clicking here.

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