Mental Health for Children

PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Mental Health in the Classroom Newsletter


p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica}

2. Persona and POV statement Persona: 

Jenny McCormick

  Persona name: Jenny McCormick     Age: 32       School/occupation: Waitress at Leo's Coney Island       Location: Warren, MI       Quote: "My children are the readson I laugh and smile, they are also why I wake up motivated each morning!"        About:
  • Youngest of four children, never finished college education
  • Believes most things can be overcome with hard work and a positive mindset
  • Happily married to her highschool sweetheart and a proud mother of two, Caitlyn (6 y.o.) and Ben (17 y.o.).
  • Give her children a better life
  • Spend more time at home with family but work gets in the way
  • Saving up for a new Ford mustang


POV Statement:
  • User (be specific and use empathetic language, e.g., Karla, a busy and high achieving high school student…): Jenny, a busy mother who is juggling working full time to help provide for her family and making time to support them outside of financial means...

  • Need (identifies a need that is meaningful and includes feelings, e.g. …needs a way to feel less stress at school…): ...needs for her children to feel supported and loved so they can grow up with confidence and achieve their full potential


  • Insight (incorporates your observations; often unexpected, …because there is a lot of chaos in her life and she wants to feel more calm, peace, and mindfulness in her day.): ...because she has so many things going on she might come home tired and not be able to observe subtle changes in her children’s behavior or signs of mental health stress.


3. Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: Initially, we found that the topic of mental health awareness could be best instituted and approached through curriculum within high schools. Paralleling the structure of a Sexual Education class, a feasible way to address this underlying issue would be have a mandated session/class that students would take; this would effectively give students sufficient information and various techniques to combat and recognize issues revolving around mental health.

SOLUTION 2: Dovetailing off of the aforementioned educational structure, a reasonable proposition could be integrated into teacher certifications. By including an additional certification that teachers would fulfil, there would be a default network of competent and aware instructors within schools that are apt to recognizing and assisting with mental health on a institutional level.

SOLUTION 3: This could also take the form of informing parents instead of students themselves, and using parent teacher conferences as a way to disseminate information through handouts and a conversation. This could also be done in a forum style event. 

SOLUTION 4: Website resource with information sponsored by the Department of Education which all schools can link to on their own school websites, with resources and education topics catered to different age groups of students as well as parents/advocates of students. 



Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

House Bill 5524 - To require mandated teacher continuing education courses to include “mental health first aid” training, and require the Department of Education to adopt a program for this. 

Description: Requires that teachers be trained on mental health before being able to teach. This is supported through the Department of Education and has them noticing and being able to help students who may be suffering from mental health issues. 

Senate Bill 1030 - “A school district, intermediate school district, or public school academy that receives a grant under this section shall use grant funds to employ or contract for 1 or more new or additional full- or part-time qualified school mental health professionals. A grant under this section must not be used to fund a qualified school mental health professional employed or contracted for by a school district, intermediate school district, or public school academy before the award of a grant under this section.”

Description: This bill was created to create and establish safety as it pertains to grant programs revolving around student mental health. By prescribing duties for particular agencies within the state as well as to local officials, schools are to be able to create funds that will empower proper mental health. This bill provides great detail about the ways in which to go about tackling the issue of grant establishment and security. A major guiding principle being that any school that receives a grant will be required to employ one or more new/additional qualified school mental health professionals at the institution.

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

This proposal will help the lives of students across Michigan and their relationships with parents, administrators, teachers, and peers by creating more awareness around mental health issues, diagnosis, treatment, and breaking down the stigma around seeking help. Through building this connection, we hope that all citizens in Michigan will be able to maintain high levels of health and therefore build successful habits and increase the overall trajectory, success, and happiness of our state entirely. Though the proposal currently targets students of Michigan, it should be noted that the implications will reach far beyond the educational realm; by teaching the youth of Michigan the importance of mental health and the ways to properly treat and remedy it, a strong foundational basis will be instilled within each individual, and this can very well have economic ties relating to employment and Michigan’s prosperity in the future.

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

Stefan is a mental health advocate through the organization Wolverine Support Network which facilitates peer to peer support groups for college students. Through my role on the director team I have been exposed to CAPS at the University and learned about the topic building my passion for mental health and providing connections to begin the research and consultation process. 

While growing up, Troy saw and anecdotally experienced mental health and was able to see the damaging effects of various conditions firsthand. Since then, I have remained an extremely conscious person and have been continually staying informed on the pressures that face those immediately surrounding me. It was within my own family that I had learned of the nefarious effects and implications of mental health and was driven to unfalteringly learn and be a proactive member in the fight against mental health.

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

Stefan - Working with Big Brother Big Sister has paired me with a boy who I spend time with hanging out and getting to know each other. I share my extracurricular activities and learned how there isn’t the discussion on mental health happening for students in K12 schools at Michigan yet and there is a need for proposals like this.

Troy - By creating a student initiative revolving around higher level educational fulfillment, I have learned about and been exposed to many of the glaring issues Michigan students currently face. Throughout the process I found myself learning about one deficiency after the next, and it made me realize that before significant progress is made in pursuit of higher level education, we first need to hammer down the principles and create a holistic foundation that is free from any elementary gaps.


Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Mental Health in the Classroom Newsletter


Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1: Nicole Carter - Novi High School

Stefan spoke with Nicole regarding mental health resources and capacities at Novi High School which is an atypically affluent public school. Parents have been requesting and speaking out about the need for these programs and the school administration is bringing together a mental health task force of students and administrators to help address the issue but not all schools have these resources so a state level solution would create greater impact and equity for all. 

CONSULTATION 2: Lizelle Salazar - University of Michigan Depression Center

Stefan spoke with Lizelle from the Depression Center about the statistics around depression, mental health and impactful programs that she has seen. Lizelle helps host the Depression on College Campuses Conference every year which brings in mental health professionals to solve the college issue but her insights were important for shaping a solution for non-college students as well.

CONSULTATION 3: Luke Henke - Staff Psychologist University of Michigan CAPS

Stefan meets with Luke weekly to discuss mental health campus initiatives for Wolverine Support Network and how they can intertwine with the University. Additionally, Stefan spoke to Luke about the models being used at other schools as he is well networked and we learned about how other schools are dealing with mental health on various budgets and cultural differences in campus climates which is applicable to making a broad proposal. 

CONSULTATION 4: Henry Meares - Assistant Dean for Recruitment, K-16 Relations, and Special Projects

Troy met with Mr. Meares, who is currently the Assistnat Dean for Recruitment and has many years of teaching and principal experience with children from K-12. This consultation proved to be majorly benefical, as topics ranging from costs and implimentation to overall school climates were covered. Having held junior-high and middle school principle positions, Mr. Meares had unique insight and personal experince that gave the proposal more bredth and alternative perspectives. By suggesting that the proposal aproached mental health education/awareness within shcools in less-traditional ways, the bill was able to postitively evolve and take a more uniqe forum; it was suggested that the approach was to create a positive climate in schools through the faculty, rather than through the creation of a formal class. 


Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

1) Alex Kubie:  “While you did state that mental health is something that affects people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses ..., I am curious as to whether a lack of economic means to seek out help plays a role in this as well.”

Throughout the creative solution process, we were sure to keep the aforementioned socioeconomic factor at the forefront of the plan. Thanks to fellow MSC member, Alex Kubie, we were able to go about creating and brainstorming potential ideas that were utilitarian in nature and were not exclusive for any students in need; it is true that certain individuals are able to afford personal therapy depending on background, so we wanted to assure that our solution was a completely public and there was no economic aspect that would qualify one student over another. By modeling the proposal this way, it will mirror the systematic approach the government maintains when providing a public good or service, such as streetlights; the cost is absorbed by an organization that is held responsible for keeping the interest of the masses at the apogee, therefore once the solution is adopted by an establishment, the value brought onboard is equally available for anybody within.

2) Max Youtie: “Personally, I think the best move going forward for you guys would be to combine your solution 1 and 2. This would mean you guys would have a top down program at schools to curve mental health awareness. The best way to add to your proposal now would be to play devil’s advocate. Ask yourself questions like…”

Having Max as an asset throughout the process has proven to be immensely beneficial and has given the proposal more comprehensive breadth. Beginning with his insight to move forward, though we thought that the most fitting solutions involved direct educational ties, hearing Max’s advice reaffirmed this notion and allowed us to progress with a more focused mindset. On the other hand, when Max’s advice was not making the proposal more concise and narrowed, it allowed us to consider alternative perspectives. By ‘playing devil’s advocate’, we were able to effectively form an ultimate solution that was resilient in nature to some of the pitfalls and difficulties associated with mental health alievation and education.  

Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.

Our research process began with looking online and talking to the people that we were connected to. Finding that there was a problem and the statistics was not very hard but what was is weeding down the correct way to solve the issue. There is no uniform solution to mental health so we had to look through various different online resources, speak with different people and learn about what their communities or organizations are doing and then helping to shape what we would think is a good proposal. From there, we began to look into the feasibility of our solutions and are talking to people who would know about the school systems, funding, costs of a program, training, and timeline to deploy on the various ideas we had.  

Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

Research and idea drafting was shared. We each had different consultations we took on and carried out, to write the proposal and draft we met together and worked collaboratively to discuss ideas which to go with and wrote using a shared document in real time. 


The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS.... Fully aware that mental health issues are becoming a greater issue for students across the state of Michigan, The rate of youth with Major Depressive Episode (MDE) increased from 11.93% to 12.63%

WHEREAS.... Conscious that students may not have the awareness of what mental health actually means or have inaccurate information or rumors

WHEREAS.... Bearing in mind that seeking help can make people seem or look “weak” (Reference)

WHEREAS.... Having examined that mental health resources can be hard to find or costly

(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).


1. Requests the state of Michigan requires mental health instruction in order to graduate High School, taught through the already required health class

2. Further invites concepts that bring awareness to all students, rather than those specifically and outwardly seeking help, resources, or information

3. Endorses the evaluation of the effects of depression, anxiety, and other mental health distinctions and how they can alter the lives of those who suffer

4. Supports the students who need help as well as those who don’t feel that they are in need of help or resources they will still be more aware and be better support to their friends and family

5. Encourages teachers to connect students to the resources in and outside of school that can help them if they feel they do need mental health support and become better advocates for wellbeing in their students

(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)


What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. This is a costly use of resources for teachers and our education system is already underfunded in areas so there are other issues which take priority.

2. Graduation requirements already intense and putting something else on students will only increase stress.

3. Mental health doesn’t fit with the needed academic curriculum for students to be in the workforce after graduating so this should be optional and even outside of the classroom. 

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  

The associated costs of the proposal incorporate both direct outlay of capital as well as non-monetary costs in the form of productive work-hours spent on creating and instituting the proposal. There will be costs associated with obtaining information and curriculum that will be used by faculty within high schools, however by purchasing such material by district, schools will be able to spread the large expenditures over many schools. It should be noted that such alterations and additions within schools require relatively low capital, as the major institutional components are already present; teachers would be held responsible for being promoters and creators of welcoming and positively accepting climates for students. Further, it should be reasonably noted that chronic absenteeism and truancy corrections will contribute to, and lower, the overall cost of making such programs. Objections may actually arise from those who the material is to be taught; teachers could potentially see this additional teaching requirement/material as a hassle and yet another subject for them to learn, therein adding additional hours to their work schedules without additional pay. Similarly, a competing interest that has been under great scrutiny for a long time is the inclusion and funding for fine arts programs within high schools. Thus, long standing advocates for music, theatre, and dance programs may oppose this newly introduced proposition, as their interests have been on the fence for quite a while and have not received widespread approval.


These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue. 


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Total votes: 18