Mental Health Improvement and Awareness Act of 2013
On April 10, 2013, the Senate HELP Committee introduced, and unanimously passed, The Mental Health Improvement Act of 2013 (PDF). This was introduced as an amendment to a larger bill designed to address gun control, which ultimately failed. However, the amendment itself passed with a vote of 95-2!
Although this bill must be re-introduced and voted on in the Senate and introduced and voted on in the House of Representatives before it becomes law, there is momentum to improve mental health services in our schools and communities. Although this bill must be re-introduced and voted on in the Senate and introduced and voted on in the House of Representatives before it becomes law, there is momentum to improve mental health services in our schools and communities. As it pertains to schools, this bill would:
- Expand the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, as well as early intervening services in schools.
- Encourage the development of school-wide programs to promote positive behaviors in students, create positive conditions for learning, and identify the needs of students and link them to appropriate services.
- Encourage states to provide technical assistance to Local Education Agencies on the implementation of school-based mental health programs.
- Modifies the use of grant funds authorized under Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities to include the promotion of school-based mental health partnerships.
- Clarifies that Title I funds can be used to create or update emergency management plans.
- Reauthorizes grants to train school personnel to recognize the symptoms of mental illness.
There is much work left to do to ensure that this bill becomes law and our students and communities have access to the mental health services they need. Stay tuned for updates on how you can effectively advocate for the passage of this bill.
Contact: Kelly Vaillancourt, NASP Director of Government Relations