Sen. Cramer, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Address Shortage of Mental Health Providers in Schools

WASHINGTON
– U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer
(R-ND) joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Todd Young (R-IN),
and Gary Peters (D-MI) in introducing new bipartisan
legislation, the Mental Health Excellence in Schools Act. This
bipartisan bill addresses the shortage of mental health providers in schools by
authorizing the Department of Education to partner with higher education
institutions to help cover a portion of students’ cost of
attendance for relevant graduate programs. The legislation would
boost the pipeline of graduate students training in school-specific
degrees to become school psychologists, counselors, social workers,
and mental health professionals responding to
the ongoing crisis in our schools.

“Our
children are the future, and their mental wellbeing is vital for their academic
achievement. In North Dakota, there’s approximately one school psychologist per
1,692 students, which is much higher than the recommended ratio. Students
deserve a safe and supportive learning environment. The Mental Health Excellence
in Schools Act addresses the current shortage of school-based mental health
providers to ensure students have access to resources to succeed in and out of
the classroom,” said
Senator Cramer. 

“The
pandemic put a spotlight on just how many students across New Hampshire and the
nation struggle with isolation, depression and mental health challenges. We
need mental health professionals in schools equipped to counsel students and
help them heal from trauma. Unfortunately, we don’t have a strong pipeline of mental
health providers, leaving many kids and teenagers vulnerable and without the
help they need,” said Senator Shaheen. “That’s why I’m introducing new
bipartisan legislation to invest in the next generation of mental health
professionals serving in schools. By helping more students afford graduate
programs centered on school-based mental health, we can attract more workers to
this critical field. The mental health crisis isn’t going away, and it’s past
time we dedicate resources and energy towards holistically helping those in
need. We owe it to our children to empower them with tools to heal and succeed.”

Companion
legislation was introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Brian
Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ).

 Click here for bill text.