Judy Chu Wants More Mental Health Services in Low-Income Schools
Nearly 40% of youth who needed mental health care between 2011 and 2012 didn’t receive the necessary treatment. For families living in poverty, that number reached 45%, and for Black and Latinx children, it was 55% and 46%. To help get more low-income children access to mental health treatment, Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) -- one of two psychologists in Congress -- introduced the Increasing Access to Mental Health in Schools Act. The bill, on which Chu teamed with Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) as part of Mental Health Awareness Month, would establish a grant program to increase the number of mental health professionals at low-income schools. It would do so by supporting partnerships between institutions of higher education and local education agencies to support teaching, training, and employment of school counselors, social workers, and psychologists. Professionals that participate in these partnerships would be eligible for student loan forgiveness after five years of employment at a low-income school. “I know that mental healthcare is no less essential than our physical healthcare. And that’s why I have worked to encourage more people to take care of their mental health. And yet, far too many mental health problems go undiagnosed and untreated because our schools lack the funding and staff needed to spot and address a problem early on, “said Chu. “Our students deserve better.” More here.