Most parents of teens back classes on sex ed, mental health

Health education has come a long way since 1975, when 20 state legislatures voted to restrict or abolish sex education. Today, most parents are in favor of their teenagers learning about sex and pregnancy prevention, as well as drug and alcohol abuse, healthy eating, and physical activity, according to a national health poll unveiled last week.

In addition to those oldie-but-goodie topics, the poll revealed growing support for several less traditional others: Two-thirds of parents said schools “definitely” should cover emotional and mental health issues, such as bullying, depression, and stress. The majority also would like their children to learn basic first aid, CPR, and how to use the healthcare system

“For so long, the stigma of mental health has prevented people from seeking treatment and talking about a problem, but I think this generation of parents really has a different attitude, and they see schools as a partner to help,” says University of Michigan researcher Sarah Clark, co-director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

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