DeSaulnier announces House passage of Mental Health Matters Act

A comprehensive package to address concerns of students, families, educators

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11), Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, and Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) announced House passage of the Mental Health Matters Act (H.R. 7780), legislation they authored to help confront the mental health crisis by increasing access to support, services, and resources for children, students, workers, and families. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 220-to-205 with all Democrats and one Republican voting in favor.

From children and young adults experiencing an uptick in mental health challenges to educator burnout, our country is experiencing a mental health and substance abuse crisis. As someone who lost their father by suicide, I am proud to have led this comprehensive approach to strengthen mental health resources for students, educators, and workers with Chairman Scott,” said DeSaulnier. “I urge the Senate to pass this legislation so we can combat the mental health crisis in this county and ensure everyone has the resources they need to live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the mental health crisis among students, workers, and families. As a result, educators have been forced to play an outsized role in supporting and responding to students’ mental health needs, leading to increased depression and trauma among educators. Moreover, nearly half of the U.S. workforce now suffers from mental health issues since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In response to the national mental health crisis, I am proud to stand in strong support of the Mental Health Matters Act led by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. The Mental Health Matters Act delivers the resources that students, workers, and families need to improve their well-being,” said Chairman Scott.

The Mental Health Matters Act takes comprehensive steps to address our nation’s mental health and substance abuse crises by strengthening school-based behavioral health care, bolstering mental health parity protections, and ensuring access to mental health and substance use disorder benefits for workers and families.

Specifically, this bill would:

  • Increase the number of mental health professionals serving in high-need schools and help to build a pipeline of school-based mental health services providers;
  • Help state educational agencies recruit and retain school-based mental health services providers at high-need public schools;
  • Require institutions of higher education to increase transparency around the accommodations process and allow incoming students with existing documentation of a disability to access disability accommodations;
  • Increase students’ access to evidence-based trauma support and mental health services through innovation by linking schools and districts with local trauma-informed support and mental health systems;
  • Require the Department of Health and Human Services to identify evidence-based interventions to improve the health of children and staff in Head Start programs, and help Head Start agencies implement these interventions;
  • Strengthen the capacity of the Department of Labor to ensure that private, employer-sponsored group health plans provide mental health and substance use disorder benefits under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA); and
  • Strengthen the ability of people with private, employer-sponsored health and retirement plans to hold plan sponsors accountable when they are improperly denied mental health and substance use disorder benefits.

DeSaulnier represents most of Contra Costa County in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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