MIL-OSI USA: Hayes Introduces Bill to Bolster Mental Health Services in Schools

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Jahana Hayes (CT-05)

May 17, 2022

Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, as part of National Mental Health Awareness Month Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) introduced the Supporting Trauma-Informed Education Practices Act to bolster trauma support services and mental health care for children in schools. The bill authorizes grant opportunities to improve how schools address the complex needs of students coping with the devastating impact of COVID-19 and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as parental addiction, abuse, and witnessing violence.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of students are not yet completely understood, yet they are expected to have long-term consequences for social and emotional well-being. In 2020, three million teenagers reported having serious thoughts of suicide bringing to light how dire the mental health crisis has become. Additionally, the surging opioid crisis has affected more than two million children and adolescents in the United States, tearing apart many families across Connecticut’s Fifth District.

“As students continue to heal from the most traumatizing interruption to their education, they need strong, reliable, and accessible support services. Too often, adverse childhood experiences go unidentified and untreated allowing them to worsen over time resulting in learning loss and prolonged mental illness,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “Trauma extends beyond the impact and no person, especially a child, should ever have to carry that weight alone.”

The Supporting Trauma-Informed Education Practices Act would:

  • Develop or improve prevention, screening, referral, and treatment and support services to students;
  • Implement schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports, or other trauma-informed models of support;
  • Provide professional development to teachers, teacher assistants, school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, and mental health professionals; and
  • Engage with families and communities to increase awareness of child and youth trauma.

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Congresswoman Jahana Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District. She was a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year. 

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