MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The new mental health department wants to cover all their bases providing mental health screenings, past records, and even training school teachers to recognize when a student needs help.
The announcement comes just days before Miami-Dade County public schools open their doors and welcomes students to a new school year.
After a Senate bill was passed requiring the county to expand or establish mental health services, the county announced on Friday they used $6.2 million to create their very own mental health department.
Here are the highlights of what they plan to do with the money:
— They will be hiring 70 mental health coordinators and social workers to help schools identify students needing mental health services or screenings.
— Expand partnerships with outside agencies to strengthen the relationship between schools and the community.
— All schools will have a threat assessment team and a mental health team to talk about students who may be showing warning signs and getting them the resources they need.
–Teachers and staff will be required to participate in youth mental health first aid training. It is an 8-hour program teaching about the risk factors and warning signs kids some kids may show.
On Friday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and schools chief Alberto Carvalho sealed a deal agreeing for the county to provide 100 police officers to staff schools.
It is under a safe mandate that every school have a cop or armed guard when classes begin.
“We did this because we have a duty and a moral obligation to protect our children,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.
Some 20 cities will provide officers to schools. Other cities, however, are not on board. Those schools are now having to use reserves. That means detectives will have to put on police uniforms and show up to work on Monday morning.
Other mental health programs in the works relate to issues of race, bullying, gender, language barriers and more. New students must report previous mental health issues to ensure they get continued support.
By CBS’s Amber Diaz