May 04, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) has introduced a bipartisan resolution designating tomorrow, May 5th as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day with his colleague Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas). The resolution seeks to raise awareness of mental health crisis facing America’s children and the importance of connecting children with appropriate mental and behavioral health support. It builds on Senator King’s efforts to draw attention to the mental health epidemic within the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged Maine people in countless ways – both seen and unseen. As we’ve worked to stay healthy, we’ve all experienced increased stresses, social isolation, and the loss of loved ones – and few have been more affected than our nation’s children,” said Senator King. “Maine’s children have seen significant disruptions to their education and social routines and are now experiencing a dramatic increase in mental health challenges. We must do more to provide our young people with the support they need in these turbulent times, so I hope that this Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day will raise awareness of this youth mental health crisis, and encourage more Maine children and their families to access the mental health support they need.”
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly half of adolescents (49.5 percent of the population aged 13 to 18) will experience a mental disorder. This has only been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts for kids aged 12 to 17 increased by 31 percent from 2019 to 2021, with a 50.6 percent increase for girls in the age range. Any Maine person struggling with mental health can call 211 for resources and help.
Senator King has worked to address the startling rise in mental health issues from the COVID-19 pandemic. He has pushed for additional resources to address the epidemic, including proposals he highlighted in a recent op-ed for the Bangor Daily News. King recently introduced several pieces of legislation to address the crisis, including legislation to require private health insurance to cover three behavioral health care visits each year, support social-emotional learning for children, increase access to mental health resources in schools, and address childhood trauma.