Shaheen urges Biden administration to improve resources for educators to support students amid youth mental health crisis

February 28, 2022

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter to Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona calling on the department to strengthen federal support for teachers and staff to help struggling students with mental health issues. In the letter, Shaheen urged the Department to better equip educators with the tools and training they need to address the youth mental health crisis that has worsened during the pandemic.

“America’s youth are facing an unprecedented mental health crisis…Tragically, young people struggling with mental health issues do not have access to the mental health treatment they need. We are seeing a national shortage of access to mental health treatment in all areas, and schools in particular are struggling to meet the need for increased mental health services for students,” wrote Senator Shaheen.

“I urge the Department of Education to provide better support for teachers struggling with the extreme mental health issues their students are facing. The pandemic has taken a huge toll on teachers who have had to deal with the challenges of distance and hybrid learning, as well as the physical safety risks of COVID-19 in the classroom,” Shaheen continued. “The Department of Education must look to existing federal programs that fund teacher education and continuing education to ensure teachers are equipped to meet these challenges.

You can read the full letter here.

Shaheen is a leader in the Senate who works to shed light on the mental health crisis and promote suicide prevention efforts. Shaheen has fought to secure funding for mental health and addiction services during the pandemic, including $4.25 billion in funding through emergency COVID relief legislation in the year last and nearly $4 billion through the US bailout. She also moderated virtual discussions on the epidemic of youth and adolescent mental health, and she invited Maureen O’Dea, president of the New Hampshire School Counselors Association and principal of the school council at Londonderry High School, as a virtual guest at President Biden’s joint address to Congress last year to highlight the need to address adolescent mental health challenges. Shaheen also previously presented the Guidance in Elementary and Secondary Schools Actto increase the availability of mental health resources in US public schools.

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