The House Public and Behavior Health and Human Services Committee heard HB23-1003, School Mental Health Assessment, which creates the sixth through twelfth grade mental health assessment program. Below is the testimony of Natalie Perez in support of the legislation.
My name is Natalie Perez , I am a parent of a 6th grade boy, and an organizer with Stand for Children.
I am here today to ask you to vote yes on house bill 1003.
I believe having all children, 6th to 12th grade mentally assessed is vital, especially after the pandemic and all the changes our children are going through.
Personally, not only did we lose family members to covid, but we also went through a separation, we had a family member go missing and my son suffered severe bullying in his school.
The past 2 years have been so rough for my family, and I feel very grateful that I have had the resources to help my child overcome everything we have been through.
I think about all the children in my son’s class whose parents don’t have the resources. Especially at the age where they are changing and figuring out the world. I think about the children who went through loss in their homes during the pandemic. And children who are currently having overdoses at school because it’s the only way they have learned to cope. Children who are using violence because it’s the only way they feel heard. Children who don’t feel safe coming home and opening up to their parents.
I believe our schools should be a safe place for our kids, and having a program where every child is assessed would go a long way. I believe every child should have access to this program even if a parent is not involved. Having a qualified provider at every school in these times where our children are going through pain and large amounts of stress would not only create safer communities but it would also help students understand what they are feeling.
So today I ask you to please vote yes.