Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) recently voted to pass H.R. 7780, the Mental Health Matters Act, legislation that would expand resources to address the growing mental health needs of children and school staff, strengthen school-based behavioral health care, and ensure access to mental health and substance abuse disorder benefits for workers and families.
The COVID-19 pandemic intensified the unique mental health challenges that school personnel face, including the task of addressing learning loss and supporting students’ heightened social and emotional needs. Additionally, the pandemic took a serious toll on students, with over forty percent of students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, nearly twenty percent seriously considered suicide, and more than half of parents and caregivers express concern over their children’s mental well-being.
“Far too many Americans, including our youth, lack access to the support and services needed to deal with their mental health needs,” said Barragán. “The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the need for mental health care that was already in short supply, especially for our nation’s kids. Poor mental health seriously disrupts both the student trying to learn and the instructor trying to teach, and for decades schools and administrators suffered from insufficient resources and support to address the mental and behavioral health needs of students and staff.
“This bill creates a pathway for increasing the number of school-based mental health providers, bolsters resources to millions of schools across the country, and protects college students who request accommodations for an existing mental health problem. The mental well-being of our nation’s students, workers, and families is essential, and I am proud to have voted for this bill that will deliver much-needed support to ensure that they can fully participate in their education.”
The Mental Health Matters Act will: