Meeting Our Children's Mental Health NeedsJune 15, 2022
At the beginning of the 2022 legislative session back in February, Democrats and Republicans stood together and committed to addressing our children's mental and behavioral health needs.
Meeting the growing mental health needs of Connecticut's children was a top priority this year, and three transformative pieces of legislation were signed into law last month so that our children can access the care they need to be their best, authentic selves.
The three laws, SB 1, SB 2, and HB 5001, take critical steps to strengthen our state's mental and behavioral health system, which experienced unprecedented strain during the COVID-19 pandemic. These laws, in combination with historic budget investments, will:
- Expand 24/7 emergency mental health response, and create walk-ins for mental health emergencies
- Address shortages of mental health staff in our schools by offering grants to local schools to hire social workers, counselors, and psychologists
- Provide mental health training to parents, students, and pediatricians
- Expand school-based health centers to develop mental health programming
- Create a state oversight and coordination of a state response to kids' mental health needs
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. That is why it is more important than ever for us to invest in mental health.
As state legislatures across the country cut funding for these vital services, in Connecticut, we're choosing to make critical investments in the health of our children and our state's future.