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Senator Hassan Introduces Legislation to Help Schools Hire Mental Health Professionals and Better Address Students’ Mental Health Needs

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, recently joined in introducing legislation to establish a new federal grant program to hire and retain mental health providers in schools.

 

“I am always so amazed by how many young people across New Hampshire are bravely speaking out about their struggles with mental health, and it’s clear from their stories that more support is needed,” Senator Hassan said. “Schools are often on the frontlines when it comes to recognizing and helping a student who is struggling with mental health challenges, and I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this legislation that will expand mental health resources in our schools.”

 

The Advancing Student Services in Schools Today (ASSIST) Act would establish a new grant program at the Department of Health and Human Services to hire and retain mental health providers in schools. Under the legislation, the federal government covers 90% of the cost of providing these mental health services to children enrolled in Medicaid. These federal funds are designed to allow the state to increase the rate of pay for providers, and also provide a sustainable funding stream to keep these professionals in schools. This legislation would put mental health professionals in schools and make them more accessible to students prior to a mental health crisis.

 

Senator Hassan is focused on supporting young people across New Hampshire and ensuring that they have the mental health resources that they need. For instance, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Hassan and Joni Ernst (R-IA) to help address the rising rate of youth suicide is on its way to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Additionally, Senator Hassan recognized three students from Exeter High School as her “Granite Staters of the Month” for organizing a hockey game as part of an initiative to promote discussions around student mental health. Senator Hassan also recently introduced a youth mental health expert from Portsmouth as a hearing witness on the youth mental health crisis, and previously visited Epping High School to discuss students’ social and emotional needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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