ASBMB approves student mental health bill

Members of the US House of Representatives and US Senate have reintroduced the Higher Education Mental Health Act of 2021, which aims to survey and report current mental health resources in colleges and make recommendations to improve mental wellbeing services give. Being from American students. The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has thrown its support behind the legislation.

The bill, first introduced in 2019 by US Rep. David Trone, D-Md., and US Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., requires the Secretary of Education to form a commission to review the services, resources and resources to explore opportunities for students with mental disabilities in US colleges and universities and to create a guide for those institutions to use in the future.

“I introduced the (legislation) so that we can learn how best to help young people who have a mental illness,” Trone said. “The facts and figures on young adult mental health are staggering: 75% of mental illnesses begin before the age of 24. Keep in mind that the average time between onset of symptoms and treatment is 11 years. With the Higher Ed Mental Health Act, we can help students directly when they start experiencing these diseases and disorders. In addition, we can ensure that they stay on course and graduate with great promise.”

The ASBMB, which has worked closely with Trone’s office to rally support for the law, endorsed the law in December, citing a 2020 National Science Foundation study that found graduate students in particular were at risk of anxiety , depression and post-traumatic stress had disorder symptoms.

Pre-COVID-19 student mental health challenges.

Before the pandemic, undergraduate students expressed mental health issues related to housing and food insecurity, while graduate students had issues related to work-life balance and a lack of adequate care.

Since the pandemic, these problems have worsened — undergraduate students suffer job loss, housing insecurity and even greater food insecurity, and graduate students experience months of lost research and delayed graduation.

Miami University’s Rick Page, chair of the ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee, said he’s been watching the impact of the pandemic on his own students.

“There’s a lot of issues, but overall it seems like they’re struggling to cope with stressors from so many different angles,” he said.

In the fall of 2020, a national study of more than 4,000 college students found that over 39% had some form of depression and 34% had anxiety. Almost two years into the pandemic, those numbers have risen. A recent smaller study found that 59% of students nearing graduation suffered from depression and 60.8% from them suffered from anxiety.

If passed, the Higher Education Mental Health Act, which has bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, will include recommendations to improve the education, retention and graduation of American students.

Page said colleges need to allocate more resources to students to adequately address mental health issues. Legislation, he said, would be an important first step as it will help institutions determine exactly what resources are needed.

“The bill has the potential to be transformative for all students, whether in community colleges or four-year colleges, and for undergraduate and graduate students,” Page said.

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