The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services teamed up with the state Department of Public Instruction to compose the North Carolina School Behavioral Health Action Plan, addressing what is described as an “urgent” youth mental health and behavioral health crisis.

The plan, released on Tuesday, cites a needed investment in the state’s school systems.

As NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley said in a statement, “Addressing the youth mental health crisis requires a commitment to meeting children where they are.”

The plan highlights a crucial need to hire more school nurses and social workers, along with setting up connections with local community health partners. 

It also outlines a number of investment strategies that include better training of school personnel, establishing telehealth pilot programs in high-need and rural districts, and increasing the ability of schools to identify health needs through student-focused prevention and support services.

Earlier this month, Governor Roy Cooper released a blueprint for investing $1 billion in combatting the state’s overall mental health and substance use challenges.

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