Sens. Kennedy (R-La.) and Jones (D-Ala.) Introduce Legislation to Improve Students’ Access to Mental Health Resources
Jun 11 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) introduced the Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act today to improve college students’ access to available mental health resources. The legislation requires higher education institutions to print the contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Crisis Text Line and an on-campus mental health program on the back of student identification cards.
In 2017, suicide took the lives of over 47,000 people making it the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, and 39% of college students report experiencing a significant mental health issue.
“It can be really hard to be a kid in the world today. These mental health resources can be lifesaving, and college students deserve to know what help is available to them when they need it most,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I hope that this legislation will shed light on the many resources that students can access whenever they need an attentive ear or proper medical attention.”
“Over the past ten years, we’ve seen an alarming trend of rising suicide rates among young people,” said Sen. Jones. “Students should know that there are resources to help them deal with the pressures of being a college student and take care of their mental health. This bill helps remove the stigma associated with mental health issues and helps spread awareness about the resources that are available to students.”
Reps. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and Lou Correa (D-Calif.) introduced an equivalent version of the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives today.
“My legislation is straightforward—too many of our young people are taking their own lives, and we must act,” said Rep. Correa. “By adding crucial suicide prevention information to Student I.D.s and college websites, we can ensure at-risk students have options.”
“A loss of life at any age is tragic, but it is especially heartbreaking losing students at such an exciting and pivotal time in their lives. This bill will make existing critical resources more visible for those in crisis and improve mental health across college campuses,” said Rep. Chris Stewart.