During the House Session on Wednesday, April 27th, State Representative Dave Yaccarino (R-87) advocated for the passage of HB 5001 – An Act Concerning Children’s Mental Health. The legislation seeks to address both the immediate and long-term needs of the state’s mental health systems.
Rates of depression, suicide, substance abuse and suicide increased significantly in recent years exposing the shortfalls with the state’s current mental and behavioral health infrastructure. Emergency rooms across Connecticut are inundated with patients awaiting placement into inpatient psychiatric beds. Additionally, schools across the state are facing a shortage of mental health professionals.
As a co-sponsor the legislation, Rep. Yaccarino commented, “Mental health is one of our most important priorities this session. It is essential for the legislature to address the needs in Connecticut for enhanced treatment and to raise awareness of this issue. Especially in children, many mental health concerns are hidden and can lead to other serious problems in their future. This bill addresses these concerns at the source.”
The wide-ranging legislation aims to address the youth mental health crisis and support children and families by growing the behavioral health workforce, expanding treatment facilities, and increasing insurance coverage for mental health services. Additionally, the legislation would establish a 9-8-8 suicide prevention and mental health crisis lifeline.
The bill was passed with a unanimous vote and awaits further action in the State Senate before the conclusion of the legislative session on May 4th. The proposal can be tracked using the General Assembly website at www.cga.ct.gov.