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Students in Utah could undergo mental health assessments under new bill in the legislature

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Posted at 10:11 AM, Feb 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-17 12:11:05-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill introduced in the Utah State Legislature would create a program to conduct age-appropriate mental health assessments of students.

House Bill 323, sponsored by Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, would have local school districts conduct an annual screening of children to determine their mental health. Utah's Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health would work with the districts to provide intervention plans.

Parents would also be involved in the screening and any recommended treatment, the bill states.

The bill provides for measures to ensure protection of a student's privacy. Data would be shared with the state's suicide prevention coalition.

Lawmakers have proposed a number of different approaches to provide help and support to youth on mental health issues that range from anxiety and stress to suicide ideation.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-TALK. Utahns can also visit Hope4Utah and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center for additional resources. You can also download the SafeUT app for instant, confidential crisis services.