Senator Richard Durbin (IL) introduces the "Mental Health on Campus Improvement Act" - July 2008
On July 23, Senator Richard Durbin (IL) introduced the "Mental Health on Campus Improvement Act," S. 3311. This legislation creates a new federal grant program that will make funds available to colleges and universities for outreach, identification and treatment of students with mental and behavioral health problems. The bill allows funds to be used to support direct services to students as well outreach to students, families and staff to increase awareness about mental and behavioral health. In order to serve students effectively, the funds may be used to hire staff and expand mental health training opportunities – two areas identified by APA members as key to reaching students. APA members, working in partnership with Education GRO, have been at the forefront of bringing national attention to the issue of the mental and behavioral health concerns of college students beginning as early as the 108th Congress (2003 - 2005). In fact, most of the APA drafted Campus Care and Counseling Act is included in this bill.
In addition to supporting these critically needed activities on campus, the bill establishes a public health awareness campaign around mental and behavioral health to reduce the stigma of mental illness. Finally, the bill calls for an interagency working group on college mental health to promote better federal agency collaboration in tackling this issue.
APA has strongly supports this legislation and will be working closely with Senator Durbin's office and others in Congress and the mental and behavioral health field for its enactment.