WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, September 29, Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark (MA-5) voted to pass the Mental Health Matters Act, legislation to confront the mental health crisis impacting students, families, and workers. The comprehensive package includes Clark’s Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Act which addresses the critical and unmet need for school-based mental health providers by establishing a five-year grant program to recruit and retain counselors in high-need public K-12 schools. 

“Rates of youth anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation have skyrocketed across America. Our children need help, and our parents need a place to turn,” said Assistant Speaker Clark while speaking on the House floor. “The Mental Health Matters Act includes my legislation to address the critical and unmet need for school-based mental health providers, ensuring that whether you’re in Head Start or high school, kids have the mental health care they need to be healthy and thrive.”

The Mental Health Matters Act addresses the mental health crisis facing Americans with wide-ranging steps. Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Increase the number of mental health professionals serving in high-need public schools. 
  • Award grants to local and state educational agencies to help recruit and retain mental health professionals at high-need public schools. 
  • Require higher learning institutions to allow students with documentation of disabilities to access accommodations and adopt more transparent policies.
  • Increase access to evidence-based trauma support and mental health services by linking schools and local agencies specialized in trauma-informed care.
  • Assist Head Start programs and agencies with implementing evidence-based interventions to improve children’s and staff’s health.
  • Ensure private, employer-sponsored group health plans provide mental health and substance use disorder benefits under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). 
  • Allow individuals with private, employer-sponsored health and retirement plans to hold insurers accountable when mental health and substance use disorder benefits are denied.

Read about the legislation HERE.


Original story HERE.