Richmond, VA: One in 5 kids has a mental disorder

July 21, 2017, (Franklin, VA) Tidewater News: Law requires mental health training for Virginia school counselors RICHMOND More than 20 percent of children in the U.S. have or have had depression or other serious mental disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Soon, school counselors in Virginia will be in a better position to help identify students with such problems. Beginning July 1, a new state law requires school counselors to receive more training in the recognition of mental health disorders and behavioral distress. “Mental health can get better with intervention. Without identifying it, it will only get worse,” said Dr. Donna Dockery, the director of clinical practice in the counseling and special education department at Virginia Commonwealth University. Senate Bill 1117 was sponsored by two Democrats from Northern Virginia – Sen. Jeremy McPike of Prince William County and Del. Vivian Watts of Fairfax County. It states that anyone “seeking initial licensure or renewal of a license with an endorsement as a school counselor shall complete training in the recognition of mental health disorder and behavioral distress, including depression, trauma, violence, youth suicide, and substance abuse.”