WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) announced that more than 20 different organizations have endorsed her bipartisan legislation to address the mental health crisis among K-12 students. The Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Act, which Rosen introduced last week with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), would authorize the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide direct funding assistance to K-12 school districts for comprehensive student mental health promotion and suicide prevention efforts. This funding is currently available for colleges and universities, but not for K-12 school districts.

“Washoe County School District supports Senator Rosen’s initiative to provide additional funds to support our students’ mental health,” said Dr. Kristen McNeill, superintendent of the Washoe County School District. “Our educators see the mental health challenges our students are facing and the impact it has on their academic success.”

“In the face of a youth mental health crisis, it is essential that we prioritize building our national mental health infrastructure in schools to meet the unique and complex needs of every single student,” said Preston Mitchum (he/him pronouns), Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “The Trevor Project's 2021 National Survey of LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, yet nearly half could not access the mental health care they desired. This bill will break down barriers and stigma by investing in best practice mental health services and suicide prevention programs in schools across the country. Thank you to Senator Rosen for prioritizing the mental health of our nation’s youth and for introducing this critical legislation.”

“AFT’s educators and school staff have seen up close the mental health challenges facing students. Far too many children and adolescents are struggling with social isolation, depression or going through the trauma of having lost a loved one, be it to COVID, gun violence or other trauma. Now more than ever our kids need dedicated support, additional counselors, and mental health resources they can often only access at school,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). “I thank Senators Rosen and Murkowski for introducing the Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Act, which will allow K-12 schools to access additional federal resources to help students recover. Educator training and peer-to-peer counseling are especially critical given shortages in the mental healthcare workforce, and the resources to support those jobs have never been more important for our kids.”

“Our kids are in crisis. Schools can help kids where they are, so supporting in-school mental health and suicide prevention efforts is critical to addressing our current youth mental health emergency. NAMI is grateful to Senators Rosen and Murkowski for introducing the Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Act,” said Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). “This bill would allow SAMHSA to provide direct funding to school districts for their suicide prevention and early promotion efforts and help us reach our children sooner.”

BELOW IS A FULL LIST OF ENDORSING ORGANIZATIONS:

  • Clark County School District
  • Washoe County School District
  • Lyon County School District
  • The Jed Foundation 
  • Education Development Center
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • International OCD Foundation
  • Anxiety and Depression Assoc. of America (ADAA) 
  • National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors 
  • National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health 
  • Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) 
  • The Trevor Project
  • National Association for Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment (NABITA)
  • The Children’s Hospital Association
  • Zero Suicide Institute
  • American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work
  • The National League for Nursing
  • The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
  • Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • AFSCME

###