Senator Alex PadillaSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Calif. Senate Bill 330, authored by Senator Alex Padilla was unanimously approved by the California State Assembly today. The bill would improve the educational framework regarding mental health issues in California public schools. SB 330 by Senator Alex Padilla now faces a final concurrence vote in the State Senate and will then go to the Governor’s desk.

“Nearly 50 percent of Americans will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime. Currently, one in five youth are directly affected by a mental health challenge. SB 330 would improve the standards for teaching California K-12 public school students about mental health to ensure that they receive comprehensive instruction to raise both awareness and understanding as well as reduce the stigma of mental health treatment,” said Senator Alex Padilla.

Specifically, SB 330 would direct 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.

“Mental health challenges can interfere with daily activities, school work, friendships, and can result in decreased productivity, pain, and suffering. Education is key to increasing students’ knowledge about mental health. 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,” added Padilla.

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.

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 .