State Rep. Mike Loychik (R-Bazetta) will soon be introducing the “Athletic Coach Mental Health Training” bill, which requires athletic coaches at schools to take a course regarding student mental health as part of the requirements to renew their coaching permits.
“Mental health is just as important to a student’s well-being as their physical health is,” said Loychik. “This bill would not require coaches to become therapists or medical professionals, but merely give them the tools they need to identify mental health issues in their students and then know how to direct those students to receive the care that they need that might help save their lives.”
Loychik is reintroducing this legislation from the previous General Assembly, House Bill 492, which passed out of the House Chamber but failed to make it through the Senate before the end of the term.
This bill adds that coaches must complete a student mental health training course that has been approved and certified by the Department of Mental Health as a requirement to renew their coaching permit.
Loychik notes a study from the Director of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in her testimony in front of the Finance Committee from 2009 to 2019 shows that the number of high school students reporting persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness increased by 40%; the share seriously considering attempting suicide increased by 36%; and the share creating a suicide plan increased by 44%.
Loychik is currently seeking cosponsors for the legislation and will be introducing it into the 135th General Assembly soon.