Ohio high school coaches now required to do mental health training to renew permit

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Ohio high school coaches will have to undergo mental health training to renew their pupil activity permit beginning this year under a new state law.

The law was enacted last fall and adds an additional requirement to coaches when they renew their pupil activity permit, which is required for anyone coaching sports at Ohio public schools.

Ten options are available for coaches to choose from when they go to renew the pupil activity permit. Most of the options are virtual, but some of them are in-person.

The State Board of Education says the training will help supervisors and coaches recognize risk factors, signs of suicidal ideation, symptoms of common mental health disorders and learn strategies to support youth experiencing common mental health concerns.

The board recommends coaches do the training through Coaches’ Tool Chest, which offers multiple certifications and has partnerships with Cincinnati Children’s, the Ohio High School Athletic Association, and the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

Paul Craft, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, said the training will help coaches, who are often teachers, identify if students are having mental health issues. Craft said coaches will see students in a more relaxed setting than a classroom but sports can also be emotional for kids.

“Coaches see students in more unscripted environments than a classroom teacher,” Craft said.

Craft noted that mental health has been an ongoing concern for Ohio schools and educators.

Dayton Children’s has called the current mental health crisis “the health crisis of this generation,” and is investing tens of millions of dollars into behavioral health infrastructure. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data showed youth experiencing an increase in anxiety and depression, along with suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

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