Kentucky Among Six States Chosen to Participate in Project to Support Youth Mental Health

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 28, 2024) – Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman has announced that Kentucky is among six states selected to participate in a yearlong cohort to support student mental health. Along with Alabama, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Virginia, Kentucky was chosen by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices Children and Families team to participate in the Policy Academy to Drive Thriving Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing.

“We believe every child in Kentucky should grow up happy and healthy,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Like many states, Kentucky faces a significant barrier in student success due to the student mental health crisis. It is imperative that we address these issues head on.”

“As a teacher, I dedicated my career to serving my community from the classroom,” saidLt. Gov. Coleman. “In our education-first administration, Kentucky’s students and their wellbeing remain top of mind. I am thankful for the National Governors Association and the numerous funders of this project for their investment in Kentucky’s students. I am especially grateful they are following Kentucky’s lead and inviting the experts – our students – to be an integral piece of this project.”

The Policy Academy builds on the National Governors Association 2022-23 Chair’s Initiative on Strengthening Youth Mental Health. As young people face a mental health crisis that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, elected leaders are needed to align partners and ensure adequate mental health resources are available to students. The six participating states will advance student mental health and wellbeing across a variety of state-led approaches, and Kentucky’s state team will be focused on expanding and improving school-based mental health services and support. This project will also support states in leveraging and incorporating student voice, a critical part of realizing state goals and policy objectives throughout the project.

As a former teacher, student mental health is a priority for Lt. Gov. Coleman. Since 2021, she has worked with students to address the student mental health crisis. Together, they hosted 10 summits across the commonwealth, hearing from students on resources and support they needed. The students collected data and developed policy recommendations that were presented to the Kentucky legislature. This work has led to over $40 million in federal funding coming to Kentucky for school-based mental health services. More about this process can be found here.

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