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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Has your child ever seen a therapist?

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Florida schools are asking for students’ mental health histories on registration forms, reports Julio Ochoa on NPR. Parents worry their child will be stigmatized.

“If you do say, ‘Yes, my child has seen a counselor or a therapist or a psychologist,’ what does the school then do with that?” asks Laura Goodhue, who has a 9-year-old son on the autism spectrum and a 10-year-old son who has seen a psychologist. . . . Goodhue worries that if her children’s mental health history becomes part of their school records, it could be held against them. “If my child was on the playground and something happened,” she says, “they might think, ‘This child has seen mental health services. This must mean something’ — more than it really means.”

The mental-health question “was five words in a 105-page school safety bill that contained controversial measures like increasing the minimum age to buy a gun, and arming school employees,” writes Ochoa. The law also includes nearly $70 million dollars to fund mental health services in schools.

Lots and lots of kids have seen a therapist or psychologist.

New York schools are now required to teach about mental health. Schools will design their own programs. The state recommends teaching how to identify early signs of mental health problems and how to find help.

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