BCSMH was formed in late 2020 as a direct response to the growing crises in area student mental health, exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicides among young people, between 10 and 24 years old, in Alabama have increased 79% — per 100,000 residents — since 2005. According to Mental Health America’s 2023 Report, Alabama ranks 48th among states in overall mental health services, which is calculated based on a number of factors, including access to mental health care and the percentage of the population with a mental health illness or experiencing a major depressive episode within the past year.
To address these realities, BCSMH focuses on developing and actively pursuing equitable, community-driven policy recommendations to expand school-based mental health services for students. Through surveys collected from more than 800 individuals, and 24 community conversations with more than 220 stakeholders, the Coalition developed a Policy Playbook with innovative solutions to support students.
The Bold Goals Coalition recently unveiled its 2023 Policy Agenda, which includes recommendations related to school-based mental health aligned with the proposed solutions highlighted in BCSMH’s Policy Playbook. With a mutual desire to create comprehensive systems of support for students through policy change and evidence-based strategies, the partnership between BCSMH and the Bold Goals Coalition will make those efforts stronger, improve the coordination among partners working in this area and enhance the impact of community efforts to support mental health services for students.
“We believe that cross-sector partnerships are essential to achieving meaningful change in any area,” said Ryan Parker, Vice President of Community Impact for United Way of Central Alabama, which provides backbone support for the Bold Goals Coalition. “The efforts of BCSMH to elevate student voice in these conversations and develop policy recommendations designed to better serve students are critical to achieving long-term success, and we’re excited to play a supportive role advancing those goals,” he said.
For more information on this network, please contact Chivon Morse at Chivon.Morse@uwca.org.
The Bold Goals Coalition takes on large, systemic issues by building partnerships that accelerate lasting change.