today, US Representative Kathy Custer (D-FL-14) and US Senator Reverend Warnock (D-GA) introduced. Auxiliary ActAn Act to Hire and Retain Additional Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Care Professionals in K-12 Schools and Institutions of Higher Education
The announcement will come on the last day Mental Health Awareness Montha month assigned to fight stigma, support education, support and push for public policy reforms around mental health
As of 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation Admission to this school year, 19% of public schools had openings for mental health professionals. Among schools with these vacancies, 84% reported that it is somewhat or very difficult to fill these mental health positions.
Representative Custer and Senator Reverend Warnock have been tireless advocates for mental health resources, including expanding Medicaid to underserved states, which provides mental health resources to the millions who fall into the coverage gap.
Rep. Caster: “I’ve heard from students, parents, educators and health care providers across Tampa Bay that the acute shortage of mental and behavioral health professionals is delaying or preventing our neighbors from getting the care they need. This common sense legislation will make a real difference in keeping our students safe, healthy, engaged and on track for future success.
Senator Reverend Warnock“We hear a lot about how the country needs to do more to address mental health challenges, especially as we deal with the ongoing gun violence crisis—but until and unless we start improving mental health, we will never improve mental health. The same value for mental health care as we do for physical health care.
Washington DC—Today, US Representative Kathy Custer (D-FL-14) and US Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) introduced it again. Advancing Student Services in Schools Today (ASSIST) Act. The legislation establishes a new competitive grant program by the Department of Health and Human Services to hire and retain mental health professionals in schools. Through this new initiative, school districts can apply for federal grants that provide new funding for mental health and substance use disorder care services through the Federal Medical Assistance Program (FMAP). This FMAP boost will cover 90% of the costs to hire and train mental health and substance use disorder care providers in schools and school-based health centers—which may increase pay for these mental health professionals. Additionally, because this competitive grant program is funded by Medicaid, it is less vulnerable to cuts in the annual state funding process. This ongoing funding stream helps keep mental health professionals in schools, allowing them to build stronger relationships with students and the wider school community.
“We have a youth mental health crisis in this country, and we have a responsibility to act now to ensure that our children get the appropriate mental and behavioral health services they need.” said Rep. Custer. “Ensuring our kids get care where they belong is key to improving mental health outcomes and reducing drug use among youth, an issue that has been growing for decades. We’re hearing from students, parents, teachers, and health care providers about mental and behavioral health professionals who are delaying or preventing our neighbors from getting the care they need.” I’m hearing about the shortage all around Tampa Bay. I’m proud to reintroduce the ASSIST Act today with Senator Raphael Warnock, which will help providers remove cost barriers to care for children in our schools with sustainable funding. This common-sense legislation will ensure our students’ safe, healthy, engaged and successful futures. It makes a real difference in waiting on the right track to do it.
“Many of us have felt the mental toll of the recent pandemic and are still feeling it, but students have felt the negative impact of the pandemic in an entirely different way, and that’s not even to mention the toll on our children from rampant gun violence in our schools and communities. That’s why I introduced the ASSIST Act, because we need to make sure schools have the resources they need to have mental health professionals accessible to students in the classroom. Senator Reverend Warnock said. “We hear a lot about how the country needs to do more to address mental health challenges, especially when dealing with ongoing gun violence—but we can’t improve mental health until we start doing the same. The cost of mental health care we do with physical health care. From Representative Caster on this important and timely legislation. I am proud to work with him.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2021, more than 42% of students felt persistently sad or hopeless, and nearly 29% of students experienced a mental health problem. Sadly, by 2021, more than one in five students will seriously consider suicide. This alarming data highlights the need for better behavioral health services for students, especially in schools where those services are more accessible. Similarly, K-12 schools are contending for open positions for mental health professionals. As of 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation This school year, 19% of public schools had openings for mental health professionals. Among schools with these vacancies, 84% reported that it would be somewhat or very difficult to fill these mental health positions.
of Auxiliary Act By Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tom Carper (D-DE), John Fetterman (D-PA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
The law is also endorsed by the following organizations: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists, American Society of Clinical Psychology, American Federation of Teachers, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychological Association, American Anxiety and Depression Association, Children’s Hospital Association, Families USA, Children First Campaign, International OCD Foundation, National Mental Illness, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Jewish Humane Network of Service Agencies, RI International, The Kennedy Forum, Trust for America’s Health