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Florida Department of Education votes to require schools to teach mental, emotional health education

Posted at 9:00 AM, Jul 19, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. — Florida schools are now required to teach mental and emotional health education to middle and high school students.

The Florida Department of Education voted in the new policy on Wednesday.

The rule requires Florida public schools to provide grades 6 through 12 with at least five hours of mental health education.

The teaching will include skills for good mental health, depression and suicide prevention, as well as the impacts of substance abuse.

Professionals counselors say teaching these coping skills to kids is crucial, especially in their teen years.

"Schools are the perfect place to demystify what behavioral health is, provide that level of education and support, and really teach kids because kids will then teach their families," said Clara Reynolds the CEO of Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

Districts are required to submit implementation plans by Dec. 1.

This story was originally published by Wendi Lane on WFTS in Tampa, Florida.