Home Georgia & USA Lawmakers are pushing to give students more access to mental health resources

Lawmakers are pushing to give students more access to mental health resources

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — Senators say there is a mental health crisis among our nation’s children.

On Wednesday, lawmakers heard directly from students who say the problem will only get worse if Congress doesn’t step in to provide students with the support they need.

Brooklyn Williams, 17, told senators Wednesday that just because she looks good doesn’t mean she’s good.

“I’m going public so you don’t suspect I have severe social anxiety.” Williams is a senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “I ate all my breakfast this morning but I’m still bulimic, I got out of bed and did my hair so I don’t look depressed,” she said.

Last year, there was an average of one school counselor per 450 students. This is almost double the recommended student-to-counselor ratio.

Dr. Curtis Wright is vice president for student affairs at Xavier University in Louisiana. He says colleges are struggling to meet the growing demand from students seeking help on campus.

“There is a shortage of mental health providers in rural, inner-city and economically depressed communities,” Dr. Wright said. “If you come to school and you need support, you have three months of the term before you can get a diagnosis and start treatment.”

Wright told lawmakers that schools need more funding to hire more counselors and train teachers in mental health first aid.

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy urged his colleagues to step up and pass the Mental Health Reform Authorization Act of 2022, which expires in September.

“There’s a need here that we have to fill,” said Cassidy, a Republican.

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