HSC Statement on Including School Mental Health Services in Bipartisan Gun Bill
June 22, 2022 | Written By: Healthy Schools Campaign
Just a few days ago, HSC was excited to report that the Senate Finance Committee released draft language on youth mental health services that includes specific provisions for increasing access to school-based health services. This proposal includes best practices identified by HSC’s Healthy Students, Promising Futures initiative, including technical assistance and $50 million in grants for states and school districts to expand their school Medicaid programs.
Today we learned that this proposed language is likely to be adopted by the Senate in the next few days. This is a huge win for advocates of expanded school-based health services, and represents the culmination of over a decade of work by HSC and partners.
But in policy advocacy, wins often come in unexpected ways. In this case, the proposal is going to be voted on as part of the Senate’s bipartisan gun violence package, in a way that frames youth mental health services as a solution to a crisis that we strongly believe cannot be addressed without meaningful gun control.
Nevertheless, expanding youth access to school-based mental health services through Medicaid is essential to ensuring that young people can access the care they need, and this is the legislative vehicle that gets it done. Even as we celebrate this important legislative success, we will continue to advocate for a true solution to the shocking toll of gun violence on America’s children.