Padilla Announces Bipartisan, Bicameral Resolution Designating National School Psychology Week

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) announced a bipartisan resolution to recognize the week of November 8, 2021, as National School Psychology Week. This resolution honors the more than 35,000 practicing school psychologists in the United States for their work in providing a supportive and encouraging learning environment for all students. In the House, the resolution is led by U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), John Katko (R-N.Y), and Judy Chu (D-Calif.).

“I am proud to recognize the vital role school psychologists play in creating safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments by designating National School Psychology Week,” said Senator Padilla. “School psychologists help destigmatize mental health and provide all children an opportunity to receive mental health care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, school psychologists have adapted to meet the new challenges facing students and families.  We must continue to support mental health services that help children succeed in the classroom and beyond.”

“School psychologists work tirelessly to ensure our children are provided with the tools and resources they need to thrive, and they deserve our support,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick.“I am proud to introduce this resolution alongside my bipartisan colleagues to recognize the vital role our school psychologists play in the success of students across the country.”

“School psychologists play an essential role in the learning and behavioral health needs of many of our students, especially as they continue to endure the difficulties of the pandemic,” said Rep. Panetta. “This Congressional resolution recognizes school psychologists for what they do and for what they mean to so many of our children and their needs in and out of the classroom. This is the least that we can do as members of Congress and as parents of students to show our appreciation for the meaningful and impactful work of the thousands of school psychologists who live and work in our communities all across our country.”

“I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan resolution recognizing National School Psychology Week and all the incredible psychology professionals working in schools nationwide,” said Rep. Katko. “As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Mental Health Caucus, I’ve made student mental health a priority. With so many kids still grappling with disruptions caused by the pandemic, it is so important that we expand access to mental healthcare and connect psychologists with students. I invite all of my colleagues to join me in taking this week to honor the incredible work school psychologists do every day.”

“Mental healthcare is no less essential than physical healthcare,” said Rep. Chu. “Yet, far too many mental health problems go undiagnosed and untreated because our schools lack the funding and staff needed to spot and address a problem early on. That is why school psychologists are so important, and why I am so proud to join this bipartisan resolution recognizing the difference they make every day in the academic, social, and emotional lives of students across the country.”

“After the challenges that our school communities have experienced over the last nineteen months, it is more important than ever that we recognize the critical role school psychologists play in supporting the success of our students, teachers, and school leaders,” said Dr. Laurie Klose, President of the National Association of School Psychologists.  “School psychologists are highly qualified educational professionals who support students’ social, emotional, mental, and behavioral health, all of which impact their academic success. NASP applauds Congress’ recognition of this important work, and we are eager to work with our partners on the Hill to address the workforce shortages that threaten school psychologists’ ability to provide comprehensive care and supports to all students.” 

In California, 15 percent of children ages 3-17 have been diagnosed with autism, developmental delays, depression or anxiety, ADD/ADHD, or behavioral/conduct problems. According to 2017-2018 estimates, nearly 23 percent of California youth ages 12-17 needed help for emotional or mental health problems (such as feeling sad, anxious, or nervous) in the previous year, up from 13% in 2009. Among those who needed help, fewer than half (45 percent) received counseling.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recommends a ratio of 1 school psychologist to 500 students. Few districts meet this recommendation, which exacerbates the lack of academic, mental, and behavioral health supports in schools. 1 in 5 students will experience a mental and behavioral health concern. Approximately 80 percent of students who need mental health supports do not receive it; but the vast majority of those that do receive such support receive them at school.

The National School Psychology Week resolution follows Padilla’s recent introduction of the Comprehensive Mental Health in Schools Pilot Program Act, which funds pilot programs in primary and secondary schools to address mental and behavioral health issues and implement intervention programs for students. It also prioritizes funding for mental health programs for the most underserved schools across California and the country.

The full text of the resolution can be found here

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