Expanding Children's Mental Health Services

March 9, 2022

Meeting the growing mental health needs of Connecticut children is a top priority for House Democrats this legislative session.

The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened concerns for parents, healthcare professionals and teachers who have all experienced frustration at the system’s failure to adequately address the increasing mental health challenges facing our children.

HB 5001 that takes aim at ensuring that every child that needs help with their mental health will get it.

Children's Mental Health

The bill addresses this crisis in a comprehensive way by increasing the number of providers and services available, including:

  • License reciprocity for out-of-state mental health professionals
  • Student loan forgiveness for eligible mental health workers who serve children
  • Funding for hiring and retaining more child psychiatrists
  • More follow-up telehealth visits and expanded DCF online listings of mental health services by region to assist pediatricians in referring patients to next-level care
  • Grants to local school boards to hire social workers, school psychologists and enhance school-based delivery of mental health services
  • A new position of “Trauma Coordinator” to oversee training and best practices for teachers, administrators, coaches, SROs, and staff in all school districts
  • Requiring health insurers to cover certain services used to treat mental and behavioral health conditions in children
  • Continuing Education program for pediatricians to help develop skills in treating behavioral health issues, and a new mental health screening tool for annual pediatrician visits

The pandemic has shined a spotlight on the pediatric mental health crisis across the country. In cities, suburbs and our rural areas, children desperately need access to mental health services and support. This legislation will help children and families get the care they need.