Landmark Bill To Address Children's Mental Health Crisis

May 16, 2022

During the legislative session, we passed a historic, bipartisan bill aimed at addressing the immediate and long-term needs of the children's mental and behavioral health system in Connecticut. This is transformative legislation that will truly save lives.

HB 5001, An Act Concerning Children's Mental Health, responds directly to the youth mental health crisis in Connecticut, which has been exacerbated by the impacts of the pandemic. This bill will enhance the behavioral health workforce, expand services and increase access to affordable care. I am proud to be a co-sponsor on what I believe to be the most important bill that we pass this session. Click below to hear my remarks on the House floor:

HB 5001 works to ensure that every child has access to care when they need it. Below are some of the major components:
  • Creates a partnership with Connecticut Children’s to train pediatricians to treat early-stage mental health concerns.
  • Provides funding for recruitment and retention of child and adolescent psychologists to address the state shortage.
  • Eliminates prior authorization for inpatient psychiatric services.
  • Supports opening of the new DCF Urgent Crisis Centers specializing in meeting pediatric behavioral health needs.
  • Establishes grant program for local school boards, youth camps, and summer programs to hire mental health specialists and provide mental health services.
  • Expands DCF's existing behavioral health consultation and care coordination program, ACCESS Mental Health.
  • Requires the suicide hotline number (9-8-8) to be printed on student ID's for all grade 6-12 students and for college students attending public institutions.
  • Establishes a grant program for public and private institutions of higher ed. for the delivery of mental health services to students.