MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md.–Two mental health bills have been introduced for students in college by Maryland Congressman David Trone.
The Higher Education Mental Health Act and the Campus Prevention Recovery Services Act are for those students with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety just to name a few. The first bill is focused on measures for students to address mental health concerns and the second bill grants money for those dealing with opioid addiction and more.
Donald Mirisola, a Montgomery County Community College student deals with family mental health illness.
“Finally we are getting recognized as having these issues,” says Mirisola, “there weren’t resources available for me to reach out to tell anybody, hey I am being impacted I am hurting….”
Stephanie Will, the mental health services program manager for Montgomery County College, is grateful for these two bills. “Anxiety disorders are on the rise,” says Will, “suicide rates are on the rise as well across the country.”
These impact the ability for students to do well in class, Will says.
There’s also a stigma attached to getting help for mental health issues but that is slowly going away especially with this new conversation Trone’s bills are helping to carry out.
Congressman Trone says he began to draft legislation and is now pushing it due to the college tour he took which gave him insight on what students are dealing with. “(There are) major issues on mental health at our colleges,” says Trone, “and major issues on opioids and addiction at our colleges.”
Trone says the reason legislation has taken ten years to be reauthorized is due to time’s changing. He mentions the rising gun violence, bullying, and cyberbullying across the country.
Will agrees that now more than ever, it’s timely to start figuring out measures to keep students and adults mentally healthy so they could live a happier life. “Mental health is part of our overall health,” says Will, “You know our brain controls literally everything else about our body so we cannot neglect that piece.”
Trone says these mental health bills are expected to pass in the Senate this fall.