WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced three bills that would improve students’ access to mental health services, including the Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act, Youth Mental Health Services Act and Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for University Protection (STAND UP) Act.
“The last year has been incredibly challenging for many young people. Kids need helping hands and listening ears as they face new social and societal pressures, and Congress can help give this to them. This legislation would provide students with easier access to mental health resources from primary school through college,” said Kennedy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four young Americans considered suicide in the summer of 2020. This is significantly higher than the one in 10 adults struggling with suicidal thoughts during that time. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students and among young people between the ages of 10 and 34.
The Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act would require colleges and universities to provide the contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Crisis Text Line and a campus mental health center on student identification cards. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is an original co-sponsor of the legislation. This bill unanimously passed the Senate in the 116th Congress.
The Youth Mental Health Services Act would permit state and local education agencies to use Title IV funds authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act to invest in new and existing mental health resources. These services would follow a community-based model that reduces the stigma of receiving guidance in a school setting.
The STAND UP Act would require state, tribal and local education agencies that receive grant funding for priority mental health needs to establish and implement evidence-based training policies for suicide awareness and prevention.
Text of the Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act is available here.
Text of the Youth Mental Health Services Act is available here.
Text of the STAND UP Act is available here.