AG Shapiro Releases ‘Safe2Say Something PA’ Special Report On Student Mental Health, Renews Call To Increase Mental Health Counseling In Schools

April 6, 2022 | Topic: Peoples AG

72.9% of Total Safe2Say Tips Received Relate to Mental Health and Bullying

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Josh Shapiro today released a special report on student mental health from data and tips received through “Safe2Say Something PA,” (Safe2Say) Pennsylvania’s anonymous reporting system for schools, students and community members. The program has received more than 80,000 tips from students across the Commonwealth since it launched in 2019. Of those total Safe2Say tips received, 72.9 percent have focused on instances of bullying, suicide and self harm, mental illness, or discrimination and harassment.

“This is unique data, driven solely by students, and it is supported by extensive research that shows there is a mental health crisis affecting Pennsylvania children and teens. As a Commonwealth, we need to do more to support students, as well as the parents who are trying to help guide their kids through these challenges. Schools and teachers can’t do it alone – they need extra support from professionals who are trained for this work,” said AG Shapiro.

The Office of Attorney General established the Safe2Say Something reporting system as a way to mitigate school-based violence and school shootings following the introduction of bipartisan legislation by Sen. Pat Browne and Sen. Vince Hughes, which was signed into law as Act 44 of 2018. The anonymous reporting system went online January 14, 2019.

This special report is a compilation of new data from the Safe2Say program, additional state-level data, and national research on student mental health. Understanding there is an acute need to improve students’ mental health, and schools are one of the best places to provide support before mental health problems escalate, the Office of Attorney General has called for increasing the number of mental health counselors in schools every year since Safe2Say launched in 2019.

“I look forward to working with lawmakers and the Governor’s office to answer the call from these students by establishing sustained, broad support to place mental health counselors in every Pennsylvania school, with a focus on early intervention and preventative care. Hiring more counselors to serve our children will provide needed support for students and improve both school safety and educational outcomes,” said AG Shapiro.

The report acknowledges the increased pressure young students face today that differs from previous generations, from youth gun violence to bullying and isolation on social media and cites long standing data trends that show the presence of a school counselor reduces instances of disciplinary action, increases academic performance, and improves attendance.

Click here to read the full report.

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