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Rep. Stefanik Leads the Charge on Effort to Address Mental Health

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Posted: Feb 03, 2021 11:30 AM
Rep. Stefanik Leads the Charge on Effort to Address Mental Health

Source: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

One angle of the coronavirus pandemic that hasn't been talked about enough is how quarantine has affected our mental health. A piece in the Scientific American concludes that the toll COVID has taken is "worse than expected" when it comes to anxiety and depression.

In August, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a tripling of anxiety symptoms and a quadrupling of depression among 5,470 adults surveyed compared with a 2019 sample. The Scientific American notes it's been an especially pressing time for young people. The CDC found that 62.9 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds reported an anxiety or depressive disorder.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) hasn't forgotten those who are silently struggling.

"Many concerning studies show that America is sadly facing a mental health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic," she wrote on Twitter on Monday. "The American people are suffering and as their Representatives, we must provide them with resources and support.

"That's why today, I co-signed a letter to Congressional Leadership requesting they immediately bring 13 bills addressing mental health to the floor. Each of the bills passed in the 116th Congress with bipartisan support, and I was proud to co-sponsor a few of them!"

She joined her colleagues in writing a letter to House Speaker Pelosi, GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers, urging them to take up over a dozen bills aimed at addressing mental health.

"The coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency is taking a toll on our constituents’ mental well-being and understandably may be stressful for many Americans," the lawmakers write. "We are witnessing how fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in both adults and children."

The lawmakers ask the congressional leaders to consider the following pieces of legislation.

1. HR 1109, the Mental Health Services for Students Act (Grace F. Napolitano, D-CA-32)

2. HR 1646, the HERO Act (Ami Bera, D-CA-07)

3. HR 2466, the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act (David J. Trone, D-MD-06)

4. HR 2519, the Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Act (Raul Ruiz, D-CA-36)

5. HR 3539, the Behavioral Interventions Guidelines Act (Drew A. Ferguson, R-GA-03)

6. HR 4564, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act (John Katko, R-NY-24)

7. HR 4585, the Campaign to Prevent Suicide Act (Donald S. Beyer, Jr., D-VA-08)

8. HR 4861, the Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act (Gus. M. Bilirakis, R-FL-12)

9. HR 5469, Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act (Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-NJ-12)

10. HR 5572, the Family Support Services for Addiction Act (David J. Trone, D-MD-06)

11. HR 5619, the Suicide Prevention Act (Chris Stewart, R-UT-02)

12. HR 5855, the Bipartisan Solution to Cyclical Violence Act (C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-MD-02)

13. HR 7293, the STAND UP Act (Scott Peters, D-CA-52)