Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, introduced H.R. 628, the Mental Health in Schools Act to revise and expand projects relating to children and violence to provide access to school-based comprehensive mental health programs. The bill authorizes funding for a competitive grant program that would provide increased funding to hire therapists and mental health professionals. Having qualified professionals working on-site in schools, will undoubtedly improve access to prevention and early intervention services for students in need. The Mental Health in Schools Act would also provide for comprehensive staff development for school and community service personnel working in the school and training for children with mental health disorders, for parents, siblings, and other family members of such children, and for concerned members of the community.
Last week, Napolitano and Los Angeles Laker Metta World Peace, joined with other Members of Congress on Capitol Hill to call for the passage of H.R. 628, the Mental Health in Schools Act, and an open dialogue on mental health. The Mental Health in Schools Act is cosponsored by over 40 Representatives. In addition, the bill has received broad support from the mental health, education, and child welfare communities. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) introduced companion legislation in the Senate last month with nine cosponsors.