Napolitano and Katko Re-introduce Mental Health Services for Students Act
(WASHINGTON, DC) Today, Congressional Mental Health Caucus Co-Chairs, Reps. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32) and John Katko (R-NY-24), along with 61 original cosponsors, proudly re-introduced the Mental Health Services for Students Act, to fund on-site mental health services for youth in schools nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“Ensuring life-saving mental health services for our students has never been more urgently needed or critically important. From disruption of classes and missing important school events, to isolation from friends and losing loved ones to COVID-19, the psychological toll this pandemic has had on our youngsters is heavy, and we may not know its full impact for years to come,” Napolitano said. “This is why I’m proud to re-introduce the Mental Health Services for Students Act with my co-lead, Congressman Katko, to equip schools with funding to establish comprehensive mental health services during this unprecedented crisis and to prepare for the future mental health needs of their students. I thank him and all of our colleagues for supporting this legislation to further reduce stigma, promote mental wellness, and connect our future leaders to life-saving care.”
“I’m proud to reintroduce the Mental Health Services for Student Act, bipartisan legislation that would fund on-site or virtual mental health services for youth in schools across the country,” said U.S. Rep. Katko. “In recent years, we’ve seen a troubling rise in suicide rates and mental illness among children. And during the ongoing pandemic, conditions have only worsened as students are forced to adapt to remote learning and social distancing. Now more than ever, we need ensure every child has access to mental health services through their schools.”
The Mental Health Services for Students Act unanimously passed the House on September 29, 2020 but was never considered by the Senate. The bill creates a total of $200 million in grant funding for 100 public schools across the country to provide on-site, culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services for students. The proposal educates the entire school community—from students and their families, to teachers, administrators, and support personnel—on the warning signs and symptoms of mental illness to help identify and treat mental health issues before they escalate. It is patterned after a successful pilot program started in 2001 in Napolitano’s area, which began in four schools that has now expanded to 35 schools throughout Los Angeles County, including much of the San Gabriel Valley.
“We have seen for nearly two decades in LA County how increased access to services for prevention, early identification, and intervention has helped students thrive in school, at home, and in life,” Napolitano added. “This successful model should be expanded to serve families across America throughout the course of the pandemic and beyond.”
Joining Napolitano and Katko as original cosponsors are: Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Dina Titus (NV-01), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (MP-At Large), Kathleen Rice (NY-04), David E. Price (NC-04), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Jefferson Van Drew (NJ-02), Donald M. Payne (NJ-10), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Jason Crow (CO-06), Katie Porter (CA-45), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Norma Torres (CA-35), Susan Wild (PA-07), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), David Trone (MD-06), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-At Large), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Sean Casten (IL-06), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Ro Khanna (CA-17), David Cicilline (RI-01), Mike Levin (CA-49), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Judy Chu (CA-27), Brian Mast (FL-18), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Robin L. Kelly (IL-02), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Mark Pocan (WI-02), and Alcee Hastings (FL-20).
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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