Bipartisan Legislation Introduced To Support Student Mental Health

by | Mar 25, 2023 | Telehealth News

A new bill has been proposed to offer greater support to United States school students to provide much needed aid to the issue that has become extremely prevalent in the last decade. Named, ‘The Linking Students with Mental Health Services Act, the proposed bill was configured by representatives of the US, Brian Fitzpatrick  and Abigail Spanberger. It is hoped that through the successful implementation of the act, many school districts will receive a significant contribution in paying for telemental health services, which would increase the outcomes of student care in individuals who wish top avail of mental health services remotely.

 The Covid-19 pandemic enhanced mental health issues in individual students, as found through research conducted in 2022 by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC). In the released report, two in three high school students and one in two middle school students reported an experience of frequently being tense or apprehensive. On a more severe scale, over one in ten middle and high school students provided feedback stating they experienced suicidal contemplation in the last year from the date of the survey. Further, four percent of high school students attempted to follow through with the act, in addition to three percent of middle school students.

 The Linking Students with Mental Health Services Act seeks to provide school districts with monetary aid, specifically telehealth initiatives that give high schools students a chance to receive mental health services via technology. To provide the financing, the Act would establish a federal grant program under the supervision of the US Departments of Education and Health and Human Service. With this, school districts have the ability to give students who are struggling a remote space where they can engage behavioral health specialists, allowing them to navigate through their struggles. Additionally, they might pay employees and acquire or improve the telemental healthcare technology. Due to the higher likelihood that students based in rural or low-income school districts may not have access to mental healthcare services within a reasonable distance, the grant will look to place emphasis on these individuals increase their availability of mental healthcare. By improving the telehealth industry, young people can access care with greater ease and are not reliant on in person mental health services which may be unsuitable for a variety of reasons including geographical location or inability to travel.

The representatives who introduced the bipartisan legislation commented on the importance of the new act, stating: “Implementation of telemental health programs in K-12 schools is a critical next step in increasing access to our youth during a time when pediatric mental health is at an all time high… legislation that will bolster access to comprehensive mental health services in our communities”

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