Washington, D.C. – Many college campuses across America lack the resources necessary to support students with mental health issues. To address this shortcoming and expand protections for students, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), alongside his colleagues U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), introduced the Higher Education Mental Health Commission Act. This legislation would establish a national Commission to study the mental health concerns facing students at colleges and universities across the country.
“We need to make sure we are doing everything we can to support young people during this exciting, but stressful time of transition in their lives,” said Senator Casey. “The Higher Education Mental Health Commission Act will establish a space for stakeholders and experts to come together and start a dialogue on how to best support our students.”
Between 2010 and 2015, enrollment in colleges and universities increased by only 5 percent, yet the number of students using mental health services increased by 30 to 40 percent. More than 50 percent of students between the ages of 18 and 24 reported having a severe psychological problem or experiencing feelings of hopelessness.
Specifically, the Higher Education Mental Health Commission Act:
- creates a commission that will be composed of stakeholders that represent individuals and students with mental health disabilities and family members of students enrolled in an institution of higher education, institutions of higher education, and disability and student advocacy groups.
- requires the Commission to release a report at the end of its investigation that examines the services available to students with mental health disabilities and to make recommendations to Congress, states and institutions of higher education that will assist students to remain in school, return to school and complete their degrees.
This legislation has been endorsed by: American Council on Education, Association on Higher Education and Disability, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Active Minds, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, National Disability Rights Network, Healthy Minds Network, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Autism Society of America, Higher Education Consortium for Special Education, Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, American Association of People with Disabilities, Learning Disabilities Association of America, Council of Administrators of Special Education, and the School Social Work Association of America.