Blumenauer Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Help Students Access Mental Health Services in School

March 1, 2019
Press Release
Portland, Ore. – Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) today introduced the Youth Mental Health Services Act of 2019 alongside Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN).  This legislation will allow students to better access community-based mental health resources in schools. 
“Mental health services have long been stigmatized and underfunded in our communities,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “I’ve met with Oregon students, parents and teachers who have seen first-hand the increased need for for youth mental health services and emergency preparedness in our schools. This bill is an opportunity to provide the necessary resources for students to thrive and succeed, as well as to further the conversation on how we can make our schools safer and more inclusive.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one of every five children have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder, with half of all chronic mental illness beginning by age 14.   The CDC also reports that suicide, which is often associated with symptoms of mental health, is the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15-34 years old. 
The proposed bill takes an existing grant program authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and allows school districts to use these funds to implement community-based mental health services for students.  The bill also allows states to improve the mental health services already available to students by using funds towards:
• identifying and disseminating best practices for mental health first aid;
• assisting in the establishment or implementation of emergency planning, which may include emergency response teams to address emergencies in schools;
• establishing or identifying agreements with local health agencies to improve coordination of services;
• and/or expanding telehealth services.