California is ranked 48th in the nation when it comes to mental health care for our youth. We have a shortage of qualified mental health professionals, and our students are grappling with long waiting times to be seen. Families who cannot afford outside help suffer. The pandemic has caused more mental anguish.
We need to expand our mental health care beds for our adolescents, we need to invest in mental health care professional development so that struggling youth get the help they need in real time. I propose offering student loan forgiveness in exchange for working in our K-12 schools, as well as providing more support to local CBOs (community based organizations) to provide mental health services.