Essay on Legislation Grid and Testimony/Advocacy Statement
Number of words: 1252
Health policies have a significant impact on a country’s population. This paper presents a legislation grid and legislation testimony/advocacy statement concerning one proposed health-related Bill, which is H.R 721 Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2021. The legislation grid summarizes what the Bill is about and the legislative intent of the Bill. Further, the paper highlights the leading proponent of the Bill and the target population. Lastly, the legislation grid notes the stage of the Bill in the legislative process. On the other hand, the legislation testimony/advocacy statement comprises a personal outlook of the proposed Bill. The section ends with a description of how opponents of the Bill would be addressed.
The purpose of this paper is to advocate for the adoption of legislation related to mental health services for students in American school systems.
Part 1: Legislation Grid
|Health-related Bill Name||Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2021|
|Bill Number||H.R. 721|
|Description||The Bill was proposed to improve access to mental health services among students in U.S learning institutions. Fundamentally, the Bill proposes the provision of sufficient funding to schools towards establishing a viable partnership with licensed mental health professionals. Such a partnership would simplify the ability of students to access mental healthcare services in their respective schools. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is responsible for distributing funds (Congress.Gov, 2021). SAMHSA’s funding enables the Project Advancing Wellness and Resilience Education (AWARE) program to outsource the services of qualified mental health professionals. The individuals are then assigned mental health tasks across the country’s schools.|
|Federal or State?||State|
|Legislative Intent||Ø To manage mental health cases among students across schools in the U.S|
Ø To seek the necessary funding for schools and mental health professionals to collaborate seamlessly
Ø To provide the necessary counseling for students who may be having suicidal thoughts and a desire for criminal activities
Ø To expand projects related to children’s well-being by amending the Public Health Service Act
Ø To improve the accessibility of comprehensive mental health services among communities living near the target learning institutions
Ø To provide mental health education for family members of children with mental disorders
Ø To relieve teachers of the burden of taking care of mentally challenged students by transferring that role to certified mental health professionals
|Proponents/ Opponents||Proponents: Congresswoman Grace Napolitano. Grace has recorded significant success with the mental health program in schools within her congressional district for the last 20 years (Congress.Gov, 2021). There are a total of 35 local schools which have embraced the program and helped students cope with their mental health problems.|
|Target Population||Students in the U.S learning institutions|
|Status of the Bill (Is it in hearings or committees?)||The Bill is in the committee stage. On May 13, 2021, the Bill was received in the Senate and read twice. After that, it was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.|
|General Notes/Comments||The Bill has the best interest for students in the different schools in the U.S with regard to mental health. Therefore, passing the legislation would be beneficial to the target population.|
Part 2: Legislation Testimony/Advocacy Statement
I support the proposed Bill: H.R. 721: Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2021. As a caregiver, I have first-hand experience dealing with a 14-year old male patient who had depression. The patient was in 8th Grade. In one of the sessions, the patient mentioned that he almost committed suicide at some point. Existing research shows that many students suffer in silence from different mental health issues as there are no initiatives to handle such cases in schools (Moon et al., 2017, p. 386). Therefore, introducing mental health services in schools is essential as such legislation would positively impact the lives of students going through different mental health problems. Furthermore, integrating health policies into learning institutions aids in promoting effective school-based programs (Milstead & Short, 2019, p. 206). In the context of this discussion, the proposed Bill offers a platform for executing successful on-site mental health services for students in their respective schools across the country.
I would address the opponent to my position by highlighting the merits of the proposed Bill. For example, the provision of funds to schools towards creating a partnership between the institutions and mental health professionals benefits students and their families. On the contrary, if schools lack on-site mental health services, some parents may not be in a position to take their children to private mental health facilities. Essentially, private entities are relatively expensive while compared to government-sponsored entities. In this case, the proposed legislation would take the financial burden from parents and facilitate mental health services for children in different schools. Further, some scholars have observed a positive relationship between students’ mental health and their academic performance (Kern et al., 2017, p. 208). Therefore, the availability of mental health services within learning institutions is bound to bear good fruits.
The adoption of the H.R 721 Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2021 would positively impact the target population. In essence, students in American school systems would enjoy the services of mental health professionals within their learning institutions. Further, parents and other family members would also benefit as their children’s mental health would be cared for courtesy of government funding via the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHS
Congress.Gov. (2021, May 13). Titles – H.R.721 – 117th Congress (2021-2022): Mental health services for students Act of 2021. https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/721/titles
Kern, L., Mathur, S. R., Albrecht, S. F., Poland, S., Rozalski, M., & Skiba, R. J. (2017). The need for school-based mental health services and recommendations for implementation. School Mental Health, 9(3), 205-217. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-017-9216-5
Milstead, & Short, N. M. (2019). Health policy and politics (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Moon, J., Williford, A., & Mendenhall, A. (2017). Educators’ perceptions of youth mental health: Implications for training and the promotion of mental health services in schools. Children and Youth Services Review, 73, 384-391. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.01.006