AACRAO joined a broad coalition of nearly 100 organizations on Wednesday in a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate education committees, the Senate Finance Committee, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee strongly urging lawmakers to prioritize the needs of college students as they develop mental health legislation.
"We have been heartened at the attention and urgency Congress has shown toward addressing significant mental health needs in America, as well as the bipartisan and bicameral interest in tackling this urgent problem," the letter states. "This is a critical opportunity to address the mental health crisis among college students that has been under addressed for too long, and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic."
The groups encourage Congress to update the Public Health Service Act and the Higher Education Act to support holistic and evidence-based practices that meet students' mental health needs by:
- Increasing support for basic needs interventions throughout higher education;
- Providing more information to colleges on evidence-based preventative measures and interventions that support students' mental health and basic needs;
- Expanding research funding to improve understanding of what works to support mental health, particularly at the community and organization level;
- Facilitating connecting students to public benefit programs and sources of financial support they can use to seek mental health treatment;
- Prioritizing support for under-resourced institutions and institutions serving historically underrepresented students such as community colleges and minority-serving institutions (MSIs); Ensuring that mental health investments reach students facing intersecting mental health needs and barriers to accessing resources, including LGBTQ+ students, students of color, parenting students, military-connected, first-generation, low-income students, and adult learners.
"With sufficient federal resources, students in higher education can graduate and build a healthier, more prosperous, and equitable society. Without these resources, students will continue to face substantial challenges to their academic success," the groups state in the letter.
Letter Urging Congress to Support Student Mental Health Care Needs