Katko-Authored Bill to Expand Access to Mental Health Services for CNY Students Passes House

October 2, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24), Co-Chair of the bipartisan Mental Health Caucus, today released the following statement on the House’s passage of the Mental Health Services for Students Act, bipartisan legislation he introduced alongside U.S. Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D, NY-24):

“Today, I’m proud to announce the passage of the Mental Health Services for Students Act, bipartisan legislation that would fund on-site mental health services for youth in Central New York schools. In recent years, we’ve seen a troubling rise in suicide rates and mental illness among children in this country. This increase has only been worsened by the current pandemic, with the impact of distanced learning and social distancing resulting in an even greater need for pediatric mental health resources. My bill would ensure every child has access to on-site mental health services in their school. By ensuring our students have access to early intervention, preventative programming, and mental health treatment we will take critical steps to build better futures for the many children whose lives are impacted by mental illness.”


Rep. Katko’s Mental Health Services for Students Act creates $130 million in grant funding for schools to partner with local mental health professionals to establish comprehensive mental health services for students. This proposal educates the entire school community—from students and their families, to teachers, administrators, and support personnel—on the warning signs and symptoms of mental illness.

The passage of this bill represents a continuation of Rep. Katko’s longstanding commitment to expanding access to pediatric mental healthcare in Central New York. In his first term in Congress, Rep. Katko formed the bipartisan Mental Health Task Force alongside Assemblyman Magnarelli to address gaps in pediatric mental healthcare. The group developed a series of recommendations to enhance care in Central New York, and highlighted the need for a greater number of beds to provide care for children. This year, SUNY Upstate acted on this recommendation, opening the Adolescent Psychiatry Unit.