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The Mental Health Bill (SB 460) and Implications for
Educators and Practitioners
Nathan R. Templeton, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Administration
Texas A&M University Commerce
Mitchell Curry, M.Ed.
Principal
Scott Johnson Middle School
McKinney ISD
Texas Association of Secondary
School Principals
Summer Workshop
June 11, 2015
Austin, Texas
S
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Senate Bill 460
S Requires Texas school teachers to learn about detecting and
educating students with mental or emotional disorders and
providing positive behavioral interventions and supports.
S PBIS is a systematic approach to changing behavior.
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Senate Bill 460
S College students training to be educators will study
characteristics of mental and emotional disorders among
children, as well as effective strategies for teaching,
intervening with students, de-escalation techniques and
PBIS.
S School districts will also provide training for current
teachers, counselors, principals and other personnel about
early warning signs of suicide, bullying and the need for
early intervention.
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The Issue
S Educators are not trained nor prepared in Mental Health
capacities.
S Differentiating between “weird” behavior and “destructive”
behaviors.
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The Problem
S Schools continue to be faced with acts of violence and
suicide.
S Greater concern for those who would harm themselves or
mass harm to others
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Just a Little Perspective
S https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BByqa7bhto
(The Mayo Clinic, 2013)
https://youtu.be/3BByqa7bhto
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Just the Facts
S Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States
and the 3rd leading cause for young people ages 15-24 and
the 4th leading cause of death among those aged 10-14 years
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2010).
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The Facts
S About 4,700 young people ages 14–24 die by suicide (CDC, 2010).
S • Approximately 1 out of 6 high school students seriously consider
attempting suicide (CDC, 2012).
S • 1 out of 13 high school students attempt suicide one or more
times (CDC, 2012)
S 150,000 students between the ages of 10 and 24 who receive
emergency room treatment for self-inflicted injuries annually
(Wang, Lightsey, Tran, & Bonaparte, 2013),
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Demographics & Prevalence
S Arria, et al. (2009) reported:
S Boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide. Of the
reported suicides in the 10 to 24 age group, 81% of the
deaths were males and 19% were females. Girls, however,
are more likely to report attempting suicide than boys.
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Cultural Differences
S Cultural variations in suicide rates also exist, with Native
American/Alaskan Native youth having the highest rates of
suicide-related fatalities.
S A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9–12 in public and
private schools in the U.S. found Hispanic youth were more
likely to report attempting suicide than their black and
white, non-Hispanic peers.
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Cultural Differences
S Cultural views of suicide exist.
S In many eastern traditions, suicide is a means of shame
prevention and dominion over one’s will (Saito, Klibert, &
Langhinrichsen-Rohling, 2013)
S Without the attachment of negative stigma, individuls in
thee traditions are more prone to suicide 13.7 per 100,000
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Cultural Differences
S By contrast, in western ideology suicide is less socially
acceptable and results in lower rates 7.5 per 100,000
S But honest dialogue regarding suicide and suicidal
tendencies lacking
S Hence, persons in need of help are often ashamed or
unwilling to seek assistance
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Suicidal Behaviors
S Depression, alcohol, drug use and social support problems
can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors (Lamas &
Malone, 2011).
S Factors such as loneliness and hopelessness, along with
stress over academic performance and strained relationships
have all been cited as causes of depression in students (Furr,
Wesefeld, McConnell, & Jenkins, 2001).
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Suicidal Behaviors
S Desire to fit in with peer groups
S Social Media & Bullying
S An issue with identifying areas of concern within these
factors is that many times either students fail to admit to
having a problem or warning signs go unnoticed.
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Implications for
Parents/Caregivers
S The needs of an adolescent in a developmental relationship are:
S Express care – show that you like and want the best for me.
S Challenge growth- insist that I try to continuously improve.
S Provide support- help me complete tasks and achieve goals.
S Share power-hear my voice and let me share in making decisions.
S Expand possibilities- expand my horizons and connect me to
opportunities (Search Institute, 2014).
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Create Strong Families
S According to Matthews (n.d.), several qualities exist in
strong families :
S (a) commitment, (b) appreciation, (c) communication, (d)
time together, (e) spiritual wellness, and (f) coping ability.
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Support for Parents
S Several programs exist for families to use in an effort to
prevent suicide.
S Family Intervention for Suicide Prevention (FISP). The goals
of this program are to help to families by teaching strategies for
healthy coping and problem solving, and to promote and
improve family communication.
S Supporting Parents and Carers (caregivers). This program
provides parents’ information on adolescent suicide (ideation,
attempts, and completion), adolescent depression, and creating
suicide plans.
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Implications for Teachers
S Build relationships by establishing a sense of belonging in
the classroom
S Create a culture of trust, openness, and acceptance.
S Create a sense of connectedness by demonstrating concern
& value
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Implications for Teachers
S Intentional practice of nurturing places teachers in a
position to note drastic changes in mood or behavior
S Research supports a strong connection between feelings of
connectedness and academic achievement (Eisenberg, M.
E., Neumark-Sztainer, D. & Perry, C. L., 2003; Blum, 2005).
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Implications for Administrators
S Senate Bill 460 (SB 460) mandates training for Texas public
school teachers in the identification and education of
students with possible mental health disorders.
S The purpose of the bill is to recognize persons at immediate
risk for suicide or with other mental or emotional disorders.
Persons who exhibit specific behavioral traits should prompt
immediate intervention.
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Administrators & SB 460
S Understand the universal risk and warning & implement
prevention strategies
S Implement school wide programs (including peer-to-peer)
that focus on skill acquisition, student connectedness and
well-being.
S Training and education for staff and parents.
S No actions in isolation. Share student concerns!
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SB 460
S Better awareness means more eyes to observe and possibly
identify problems.
S Embrace positive conversations about suicide.
S Eliminate cultural taboo’s regarding suicide and other
mental disorders.
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How Can The Health
Profession Support
S Volunteer to sit on School Health Advisory Councils
(SHAC)
S Volunteer to train and equip campus personnel annually
S Develop intervention & prevention strategies
S Speak at Parent/Teacher Advisory Groups
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Final Thoughts
S https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO7YTLjqDok
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Questions
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Contact
S For Additional Information:
Dr. Nathan R. Templeton
Department of Educational Leadership
Texas A&M University Commerce
PO Box 3011
Commerce, Texas 75429
[email protected]
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