ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — A special bill that was passed Tuesday will help expand wellness centers in all public high schools in Montgomery County.

The county council approved $8 million as part of the budget to expand mental health and wellness services for students. It’s become a top priority here at home, but it’s also a nationwide problem with suicide attempt rates increasing over the past few years, according to the CDC. 

Councilmember Nancy Navarro spearheaded the idea to add wellness centers in every high school.

“This groundbreaking initiative would set up interim wellness centers immediately, using existing spaces and relocatable classrooms as we work to stand up the permanent facilities over a five-year period,” said Navarro.

The money would help set up interim wellness centers immediately using existing spaces and relocatable classrooms as the county works to set up permanent facilities.

Councilmember Craig Rice said, “When it comes to making sure that we are meeting the mental health, something that all of our colleagues up here, not just for our students, but for those that are working in our school buildings as well, need to be there. It’s incredibly important it all costs money.”

There are currently five high school wellness centers in the county. A sixth facility is under construction at Kennedy High School.