WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) introduced the bipartisan Mental Health in Schools Excellence Program Act of 2023 to increase access to comprehensive mental health resources for students. The legislation is endorsed by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.
“Over 38 percent of America’s school students do not have adequate access to comprehensive mental health resources,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “As co-chair of the Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force, I am proud to introduce the Mental Health in Schools Excellence Program Act to ensure that students have access to the mental health services they need to flourish.”
“Students of all ages in Maine and across the country are facing significant challenges to their mental health,” said Congressman Golden. “We must ensure that our public schools have the resources that they need to help these students. I’m proud to join my colleagues in the House and Senate in pushing to address shortages of school mental health professionals by introducing this bill to help cover the attendance costs to attain graduate degrees in school psychology.”
“Schools play a critical role in meeting the mental and behavioral health needs of children and youth. Equipping schools to meet the mental and behavioral health needs of students must be a top priority as we address the ongoing youth mental health crisis. Unfortunately, we are facing a shortage of school psychologists and other school-based mental health providers, which is impeding schools’ ability to meet the growing needs of students and their families,” said Dr. Celeste Malone, President of NASP. “We applaud Congressmen Fitzpatrick and Golden and Senators Shaheen, Young, and Cramer for their leadership in introducing legislation that will help increase the pool of professionals appropriately trained to support our children’s learning and mental health in schools.”
“As a professional on the front lines of the mental health crisis affecting our nation’s children and youth, I have witnessed firsthand the heartbreaking increase in anxiety, depression, and other mental health difficulties over this last decade. School psychologists work tirelessly to address the needs of our students, while facing a national shortage of personnel in the workforce. The combination of rising student needs coupled with a lack of mental health resources has us greatly concerned but even more determined to find solutions,” said Dr. Julia Szarko, Co-Chair of NASP’s Government and Professional Relations Committee. “Thank you, Congressmen Fitzpatrick and Golden and Senators Shaheen, Young, and Cramer for introducing legislation that will provide a pathway to prepare, recruit, and retain school psychologists and other school mental health professionals so that our students can have increased access to school mental health services. School Psychologists value your partnership and are incredibly grateful for your support.”
Read the text of the bill HERE.