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Katy ISD Recognized for Dedication to Behavioral and Mental Health Education


October 25, 2019

By Jennifer Miko

Katy Independent School District was presented with a Bronze Level of Involvement Award at the 2019 School Behavioral Health Conference in Houston. Members of the district were recognized for their work in the areas of behavioral and mental health for students.

The Involvement Award is presented to school district members of the organization who regularly attend collaborative and learning community meetings, trainings and events. Katy ISD was recognized for having more than 50% of their district and campus staff trained on the signs and symptoms of mental health challenges and suicide prevention.

“What an honor it was to be recognized as a district for our hard work and dedication that all of the staff bring each day to provide the highest quality education and programs to students,” said Kristie Moore, Psy.D., Katy ISD Instructional Officer for Psychological Services.

More than 30 district staff members attended the conference, including campus administrators, counselors, and licensed specialists in school psychology. They attended breakout sessions on behavior and health topics. The conference’s keynote speaker was Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics and Cofounder/Chair of Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning.

Focus on Intervention and Outcome

The conference, hosted by the Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health of America of Greater Houston, was held in Houston on September 26 and 27. The annual event focuses on behavioral health interventions and outcomes for children in school settings to advance the knowledge and skills related to school mental health practice, research, training, and policy.

The Center for School Behavioral Health serves as a “living laboratory” for originating innovative, cost-effective and replicable best practices through core methodology. The organization works to ensure entities support the healthy psychological and cognitive development of children in the greater Houston area through services, programs and training that promote behavioral health.

Youth at Risk

In a report from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found suicide to be the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24.

According to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, more than 1 in 6 high school students in the U.S. reported having seriously considered attempting suicide in the 12 months preceding the survey, and more than 7% of students (about 1 in 13) reported having attempted suicide in the preceding 12 months.

Required K-12 Training in Texas

In 2015, Texas passed the Jason Flatt Act into legislation. The law became the nation’s most inclusive and mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention legislation pertaining to Teacher’s In-Service Training.

The law states that "suicide prevention training must be provided on an annual basis, as part of new employee orientation, to all new school district and open-enrollment charter school educators and to existing school district and open-enrollment charter school educators on a schedule adopted by the agency by rule."

Major components of the legislation are:

  1. The suicide prevention training must use a best practice-based program recommended by the Department of State Health Services in coordination with the agency under Section 161.324, Health and Safety Code.

  2. The suicide prevention training may be satisfied through independent review of suicide prevention training material that: complies with the guidelines developed by the agency; and is offered online.

Since its inception in 2007, 20 states (40%) have passed the Jason Flatt Act.

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