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Senator Hassan Questions Surgeon General About How We Can Strengthen Youth Mental Health

Senator Hassan Highlighted Concerns She Has Heard from Young Granite Staters

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan today questioned U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy during a Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing entitled “Why Are So Many American Youth in Mental Health Crisis? Exploring Causes and Solutions.” This hearing follows up on a meeting Senator Hassan had yesterday with the Surgeon General where she raised concerns about the negative impact that social media is having on youth mental health and how Congress can help address this issue through bipartisan solutions.

To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning, click here.

The Senator started by discussing specific instances of young Granite Staters who have spoken up about this issue, including Loreley Godfrey of Portsmouth, who Senator Hassan honored as May’s Granite Stater of the Month. Loreley was inspired to advocate for improved mental health education in New Hampshire after witnessing a friend have a panic attack while Loreley was driving and not knowing what to do other than hold her friend’s hand and search for resources on the internet. The Surgeon General responded, “Loreley’s story will remain with me.”

Senator Hassan highlighted her bipartisan STANDUP Act, which was signed into law in 2022, and asked Dr. Murthy about the importance of schools adopting evidence-based policies. The Surgeon General explained that evidence-based policies are important to ensure that unintended consequences and outcomes are avoided and so that we can have greater confidence that mental health programs are actually helping students.

Senator Hassan then pointed to new funding for the University of New Hampshire through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that Senator Hassan helped pass into law. UNH and the Manchester School District are using this funding to train and place 80 graduate students studying social work in high-needs schools. Senator Hassan asked Mrs. Katherine Neas, the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education about other innovative programs like this one.  

To conclude her questioning, Senator Hassan stated, “To the young people watching, this hearing probably wouldn’t be happening if young people hadn’t been speaking up, so thank you all very much for that.”