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Student mental health bill takes another step in General Assembly

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Posted at 6:58 PM, Mar 17, 2022

MARION COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A bill in the state legislature is another step closer to addressing mental health in our schools.

In January, we introduced you to Amira Bowman, a sophomore at Marion County High School. She helped bring the bill to the table. It passed the House unanimously.

"I've always dreamt big," Bowman told LEX 18 in January. "And I knew there were students who were more than just in my county who needed this help."

On Thursday, the bill went through the Senate Education Committee. Now it moves to the Senate floor.

"They were persistent," said Senator Jimmy Higdon. "That's a key element in the legislative process."

Bowman first approached Higdon about this piece of legislation, who then passed it along to Rep. Bobby McCool.

"My plate was already full so I said well let me look and see what's going on," Higdon said. "And I looked at the pre-filed legislation. Representative McCool had already filed almost an identical bill that Amira wanted to work on."

In the committee meeting, the discussion focused on the amount of stress students face today. There was a strong urge to address mental health as a legitimate health concern.

"It was really enlightening because I was happy to see they were recognizing the importance of this bill," Bowman said. "I went to school during a pep rally and had an anxiety attack. I didn't know what an anxiety attack was. I didn't know what that looked like. I knew my friends had one before, but I didn't know what that was. That was scary, not just me, but my friends around me."

With 10 days left in the session, lawmakers are optimistic about where this bill heads.

"I see the Governor signing this piece of legislation and really celebrating it because it is a good piece of legislation," Higdon said.