Senator Alex PadillaSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Calif. Senate Bill 330, authored by Senator Alex Padilla was signed by Governor Brown today. The bill would improve the educational framework regarding mental health issues in California public schools. The bill goes into effect on January 1, 2014.

“I applaud Governor Brown for signing SB 330. This law will improve the standards for teaching California K-12 public school students about mental health issues and ensure that they receive instruction to raise both awareness and understanding,” said Senator Alex Padilla.

Nearly 50% of Americans will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime. Currently, one in five youth are directly affected by a mental health challenge which can interfere with daily activities, school work, and friendships. California’s public education system is one of the most effective means to provide each child with an opportunity to acquire knowledge about mental health.

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, more than 58 million Americans suffer from mental health challenges, costing our economy more than $300 billion annually. The National Alliance on Mental Illness found that 4 million children and adolescents suffer from serious mental health challenges. The Surgeon General reports that close to fifty percent of all Americans will personally experience a mental health challenge in their lifetime.

Specifically, the new law directs the California State Board of Education and the Instructional Quality Commission to consider developing, and recommending for adoption by the state board, a distinct category on mental health instruction to educate students about all aspects of mental health. The existing Health Framework for California Public Schools, published a decade ago, puts minimal emphasis on mental health, despite its importance.

Senator Alex Padilla, 40, graduated from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He currently serves on the Board of MIT and is President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. He is Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and represents the more than 1,100,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District in Los Angeles. For more information about Senator Padilla visit his website .