WASHINGTON, D.C., October 19, 2023 – U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.) today joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in introducing the Youth Mental Health Research Act. This bipartisan legislation will create a national Youth Mental Health Research Initiative to guide long-term mental health care efforts, better target preventive interventions for those at risk of developing mental health challenges, and improve treatments for children.
“As the United States contends with a devastating, growing youth mental health crisis, it is more important now than ever that we take meaningful action to protect our nation’s children. Last year, one in three high school girls said that they considered suicide, and almost one in 10 high school students reported actually attempting suicide in the previous 12 months. As a mom, I am proud to introduce this legislation that would support critical research and enable evidence-based solutions to this generational challenge. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to preserve the American Dream for generations to come,” said Senator Britt.
“Over the past few years, a rising number of young people have experienced mental health challenges. To understand how we can best support them, we must assess the scope of this youth mental health crisis and take steps to promote recovery and healing,” Senator Klobuchar said. “Our bipartisan legislation would create a national research initiative to develop evidence-based mental health resources and treatments to address this crisis and ensure young people have the support they need.”
Companion legislation is led in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Congressman Tom Kean, Jr. (R-NJ).
Specifically, the Youth Mental Health Research Act will:
- Allow the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to partner on fundamental and applied research to improve youth mental health;
- Support social, behavioral, cognitive, and developmental research to increase tools to identify, support, and best care for young people at-risk and those in crisis;
- Help coordinate research to improve targeting and delivery of mental health interventions in clinical and community settings where young people live, play, work and learn.
In December 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory on protecting youth mental health calling attention to the national crisis of youth mental health and well-being. Last year, over 2.5 million youth in the U.S. had severe major depression. In 2021, more than 1 in 5 students seriously considered attempting suicide.
The full text of the bill can be viewed here.