Scott, Blumenthal Lead Effort to Improve Mental Health on College Campuses

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) led a bipartisan group of six senators in introducing legislation to encourage higher education institutions to develop and implement comprehensive mental health and suicide prevention plans. 

“Mental health issues have skyrocketed on college campuses, where students struggle with depression and anxiety at an alarming rate,” said Sen. Scott. “Sadly many students — particularly those at smaller universities with fewer resources — lack the help they need. This bill will help address those gaps and enable students to focus on what matters: their friends, their activities, and most importantly, their education.”

“This bipartisan measure will provide students with the mental health support they need to succeed,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “Our country is in the midst of a youth mental health crisis with serious cases of anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide growing among college students. Our bill aims to ensure colleges are prepared with the best evidence-based plans to promote positive mental health on campus and to support students when they need help the most.” 

The Enhancing Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Through Campus Planning Act would amend the Higher Education Act to provide for increased coordination between the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and encourage higher education institutions to create proactive plans for preventing suicide and promoting positive mental health among students to address the mental health crisis. These plans would align with strategies recommended by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Suicide Prevention Resource Center, specifically its nine-part Comprehensive Approach to Suicide Prevention.

In the Senate, the legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). In the House, the bill was led by U.S. Representatives Susan Wild (D-Pa.) and Fred Keller (R-Pa.) and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in June.

Full text of the legislation can be found here