New Law on Mental Health Curriculum Goes Into Effect With Start of the New Year

Health classes in California high schools will soon cover more than nutrition and exercise. Thanks to a new law that went into effect Jan. 1, students will learn about depression, schizophrenia, mood disorders and other serious mental health conditions.

Senate Bill 224 requires all school districts that offer health classes to include mental health as part of the curriculum. The California Department of Education has until Jan. 1, 2023 to incorporate mental health into the state standards, and districts have until Jan. 1, 2024 to begin teaching the new material.

“Hopefully this will change lives,” said State Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, sponsor of the bill. “That ninth-grader who’s inspired by a health class may go on to save a peer’s life. Everyone one of us touches so many people in our lives, we see this as having an exponential benefit.”

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