Congress begins tackling students’ mental health

Almost every day a new study appears on the mental health of college students. Citing some measure of sadness, anxiety, feelings of exhaustion, or using unhealthy coping skills, these studies say the same thing: college students struggle.

Understanding of students’ mental health issues was growing before the pandemic took hold, and the stigma around these issues is slowly fading. The pandemic, and the profound way it has affected young people, has made the topic the center of public debate, and now to Washington.

President Joe Biden recently called on colleges to use federal Covid relief funding to…dd Student mental health supportAt the end of June, the House of Representatives passed two bills related to the mental health of college students.

Rep. Susan Wild, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, who sponsored a bill that proposed improving mental health services and suicide prevention programs at universities, said the unprecedented challenges students have faced over the past several years contribute to mental health distress and that the bill is needed to combat Long term effects.

Bill Encourages colleges to work with community organizations to develop mental health support systems for students, as well as comprehensive campus plans that can include everything from campaigns to ensure students understand the resources available for training for non-mental health professionals on campus in understanding the warning signs of serious mental health problems , for other safety measures on campus. The bill does not propose any funding; It acts more as a call to action.

It was approved in the House of Representatives by 405 deputies and 16 deputies opposed it.

She has worked with Wilde on the bill, said Manuela McDonough, director of government affairs and advocacy at Jade, a nonprofit that advocates for mental health care for young people. “People are realizing that our youth are struggling and struggling more now, as we are dealing with the pandemic and the repercussions of the pandemic.”

Although it received overwhelming support in the House of Representatives, Wild’s bill is not currently scheduled in the Senate. McDonough said it’s important to have bipartisan support, so they are working to find Senate sponsors from each party and hope to have the Senate version of the bill before the end of the year.

As the house passed lately law Project This will require the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services to assist universities with drug and alcohol abuse prevention and recovery programs, and to establish a five-year grant program to fund the programs. Passed in the House, 371-49, but no date has been set for hearing in the Senate.

In the future, it is also possible for the legislation to move forward by writing it into a larger bill or folding it into a wider bundle of bills. Its Senate Health, Education, Work, and Pensions Committee He indicated that he is working on a package of invoices Related to mental health and substance abuse, but the billing has yet to be submitted. In March, the Senate Finance Committee released him Report on mental health and substance abusewhich separates children, adolescents and young adults as one of the five focus areas for future legislation.

The report highlights the disparities based on race, ethnicity, gender and geographic location that the commission says lead to inequalities in mental health and drug use outcomes. a policy project Issued by the committee aimed at reducing barriers to mental health care for young people in Medicaid.

Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who chairs the Finance Committee, wrote that the goal is that “every American is able to access the mental health and substance use disorder care they need and their loved ones when they need it.”

This story It is produced by The Hechinger Report, an independent, non-profit news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.