The U.S. Department of Education, National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), National Association of Counties (NACo), and U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) today released the following joint statement to advance their unified commitment to bolster mental health supports for students:
“Nationwide, students continue to struggle with mental health challenges. The pandemic’s unprecedented disruptions in their school and social lives exacerbated rates of depression, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness that were already on the rise. From classrooms to Congress, we all have a role to play in meeting this urgent need.
“Schools can be a gateway to crucial mental health services that may otherwise be inaccessible, and at the federal level, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has focused on two elements of success: people and resources. This includes an investment of $2 billion to create safe, inclusive learning environments for students and hire and train an estimated 14,000 new mental health professionals, as well as collaboration between ED and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand access to Medicaid reimbursement for school-based health and mental health services.
“As organizations representing state and local leaders, we have worked to equip those leaders with the resources they need to meet the moment. We remain committed to this work but know the best and most lasting solutions will depend on coordination and commitment at every level of government.
“Given the exponential impact of coming together, we commit to continue our work as individual organizations, while uplifting the efforts of others, and, where possible, working together, to ensure every student, no matter their zip code, has access to mental health supports.”