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Mental Health Discussed in Congressional Hearing

February 9, 2022 

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held the hearing “Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder: Responding to the Growing Crisis” last Tuesday. Witnesses spoke about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, the behavioral health workforce, and bipartisan efforts to support youth mental health. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) chaired the hearing.

Dr. Mitch Prinstein, Chief Science Officer of the American Psychological Association (APA) and FABBS Council of Representatives member, was among the expert witnesses. In his testimony, Dr. Prinstein provided four recommendations to the committee:  

  • foster a more diverse and robust mental health workforce,  
  • use psychological science to deploy preventive intervention through school and community-based partnerships,  
  • expand the integration of behavioral health into primary care, and  
  • invest in youth mental health research  

Specifically, Dr. Prinstein called for a billion-dollar investment in the National Institute of Health (NIH) initiatives to strengthen youth mental health – focusing on research initiatives funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD).

“This is surely the year for Congress to address the growing crisis this Committee has identified by adding significant funds to NIH for an initiative to strengthen youth mental health. APA is calling for a billion-dollar investment in this initiative: this research would pay dividends for decades… We need research on primary prevention programs that are ready to be brought to scale, universal socio-emotional skills learning, safe social media interaction, and community-based approaches to support kids’ healthy development.” – Dr. Mitch Prinstein 

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder: Responding to the Growing Crisis: Hearing Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, 117 Cong. 21 (2022) (Statement of Mitch Prinstein). Available from https://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/mental-health-and-substance-use-disorders-responding-to-the-growing-crisis.

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