Bill would require kids to be screened for mental health issues - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Proposed bill would require children to be screened for mental health issues

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would require mental health screenings for school children.

It's just one of several bills having to do with mental health that has been proposed in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown in December.

Lawmakers said they believe that screening children could help identify and get treatment for mental illness, but the idea is getting mixed reviews from parents.

Since the shooting inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, many parents said they agree that something needs to be done to protect children, but it's difficult to agree how.

It's speculated that the gunman, Adam Lanza, may have suffered from some sort of mental illness.

"There should be some sort of help for them if they need it," said parent Courtney Saehrig. "Maybe we can preemptively find out if they're having trouble ahead of time."

The proposed bill would require children to have two screenings starting in sixth grade and then every two years through high school and the parents would be notified of the results.

A healthcare provider would conduct the assessment and would provide proof to the board of education that it was completed.

Some said they're worried about what would happen with the results.

"How will the children be treated?" asked parent Mary Kay Jensen.

Although it proposes making the screenings mandatory, the bill does not specify any legal requirements for mental health treatments.

If the bill is passed, the law would also apply to children that are home-schooled. They would be required to be screened at ages 12, 14 and 17.

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