News Update

Thurmond plan would add 10,000 mental health clinicians to California schools

Prospective mental health clinicians could get up to $25,000 in scholarship money under legislation proposed Tuesday by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond intended to bolster mental health services for California students.

The plan is meant to entice at least 10,000 new mental health clinicians to work in the state’s K-12 public schools, which have been suffering a shortage of counselors, psychologists and social workers at the same time that student mental health needs have escalated due to the pandemic.

The legislation is coupled with a push to streamline and shorten the process to become a licensed mental health clinician. It’s also meant to complement the state’s other recent investments in student mental health, including $3 billion for community schools, which provide health and other services to students and their families, and $4.3 billion for youth mental health services from birth to age 25.

“This proposal creates a needed career pathway to provide California students with the counselors they need to overcome the trauma of the pandemic,” said Christine Stoner-Mertz, chief executive of the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, which is co-sponsoring the legislation.