Washington, D.C. – With nearly half of children with mental health disorders not getting the care they need, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement urging action to advance the Increasing Access to Mental Health in Schools Act. Introduced by Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.), the legislation would help expand the workforce of mental health providers serving students by creating incentives for trained psychologists, social workers, and school counselors to serve low-income and rural schools.
Nevada recently began providing Medicaid coverage of mental health services in public schools, helping increase access for low-income children. However, school districts in the Silver State have a shortage of school psychologists and there’s a need to create a pipeline of providers to work with students.
“Early intervention is key to helping children and teens struggling with mental health problems. Trained behavioral health providers in our schools are best suited to identify the signs of mental illness, start students on the road to recovery, and connect families with much-needed resources. The Senate should act immediately to make sure low-income schools can fill these critical positions.”
Under the Increasing Access to Mental Health in Schools Act, the Department of Education will award grants to partnerships between educational agencies and graduate institutions to increase the number of school-based mental health services providers.
The Department will also provide tuition credits and student loan forgiveness to mental health professionals who obtain state certification or credentialing, complete their practicum, and work for five consecutive years in an underserved school district.