October 18, 2022
A report from New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) has found that while access to mental health staff for White and Asian Students has increased since 2008, it has actually decreased for Black and Hispanic students in New Jersey over the same time.
The report looked primarily at the number of mental health staff in schools across the state compared to the number of students of different races and ethnicities enrolled in those schools. The time period observed was from 2008 to 2020.
The study found that in 2008, all public schools in New Jersey had an average of 8.2 mental health staff per 1,000 students. In 2020, this number rose to 8.6 mental health staff per 1,000 students. When stratifying based on race of enrolled students, it was found that in the period from 2008 to 2020, mental health staff per 1,000 White students rose from 7.4 to 8.5, while at the same time, mental health staff per 1,000 Black students decreased from 10.3 to 8.5. For Hispanic students, the number dropped from 9.0 to 8.4.
Mark Weber, author of the report and a Special Analyst for Education Policy with NJPP, was quoted on patch.com saying, "The pandemic has created an unprecedented crisis in student mental health . . . Unfortunately, New Jersey's Black and Hispanic students have seen cuts in mental health staff in their schools over the past decade . . . So, just when they need these resources the most, they find their access has been diminished."