Hopeful Futures Campaign calls on American schools to have comprehensive student mental health plans

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Millions of school-age children spent the past academic year trying to learn at home as the COVID-19 pandemic raged around them. For many, it wasn’t easy, and when they return to buildings in the fall, they are going to need extra support, experts say.

“If you look broadly at the mental health of students, we know that it’s overall worse, and it was pretty bad going into COVID,” said Andy Keller, the CEO and president of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute.

That’s why an alliance of 11 nonprofits have banded together, calling for schools to be ready.

The Hopeful Futures Campaign, which launched Wednesday, aims to ensure every school in the nation has a comprehensive mental health plan in place for students when they return.

“You can’t just do one thing for student mental health, you have to do a whole host of things for a school to be addressing mental health correctly,” said Bill Smith, the founder of Inseparable, a nonprofit focused on increasing access to mental health care that spearheaded the campaign.

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