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AAU, Associations Urge Congress to Prioritize Student Mental Health Care

AAU joined 89 other associations and organizations in urging Congress “to support and prioritize the mental and behavioral health needs” of students in higher education. The associations’ letter notes that the mental health crisis among college students has long been under addressed and has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are experiencing heightened rates of anxiety and depression yet are often unable to access mental health counseling or therapy. “To meet this moment, Congress should both invest in existing programs and reexamine ways that key legislation can support the mental health and basic needs of America’s college students,” the letter says.

Among other things, the letter asks Congress to expand grant programs that would enable more campuses to increase mental and behavioral health services for students. It also encourages Congress to “update the Public Health Service Act and the Higher Education Act to support holistic and evidence-based practices that meet students’ mental health needs” and to prioritize support for “under-resourced institutions” and institutions that serve historically marginalized students. “With sufficient federal resources, students in higher education can graduate and build a healthier, more prosperous, and equitable society,” the letter adds.

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