Skip To Content
May 19, 2023

Congressman Trone, Senator Casey Reintroduce Bill to Establish Commission to Study Mental Health Support for College Students 


May 19, 2023

Contact: Sasha Galbreath, 

Congressman Trone, Senator Casey Reintroduce Bill to Establish Commission to Study Mental Health Support for College Students 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Thursday, Congressman David Trone (D-MD) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) re-introduced the bipartisan Higher Education Mental Health Act to address concerns about student mental health throughout the nation’s colleges and universities. 

The bill would establish a National Commission to study the mental health concerns facing students at institutions of higher education, as well as the quality of services available to students experiencing a mental health crisis. The Commission would be required to release a report to Congress with information on the services available to students that address the rising number of mental health concerns. 

More than 75% of mental health conditions begin before the age of 24, but institutions of higher education often are at a disadvantage in handling the mental health needs of their students. The Commission created by this legislation would be composed of stakeholders from disability and student advocacy groups, individuals and students with mental health disabilities, family members of students in higher education, and representatives from colleges and universities. 

“Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a drastic increase in the number of mental health cases among college students across the country. In fact, most recent data shows that 68 percent of students seeking mental health support at a major institution of higher education said the pandemic hurt their motivation or focus, ” said Congressman Trone. “In order to best understand how to help our college students, we need to study and research the services that are the most valuable.  The Higher Education Mental Health Act ensures that our colleges and universities can provide top-notch mental health care to all who need it.”

“As we work to educate the next generation and prepare them for the workforce, we must ensure we’re taking students’ mental health needs into account,” said Senator Casey. “This legislation would establish a commission to examine mental health practices and provide recommendations to colleges and universities to improve those practices. Today’s college students are tomorrow’s leaders and this legislation is an important step to ensuring students have every opportunity to succeed.”

Congressman Trone and Senator Casey were joined in support by multiple Members of Congress and leaders from Maryland higher education institutions.

“Supporting the mental health needs of students of all ages is of critical importance, and we know that by bringing everyone to the table – advocates, experts, stakeholders, and students – to help better understand the unique mental health needs of college-age students, we can better advocate for policy initiatives that truly support their needs here in Congress,” said Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA). “The Higher Education Mental Health Commission Act takes a necessary step toward making sure every student gets the support they need and has an equal chance to succeed.”

“Our nation’s mental health crisis has severely impacted college-aged students,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). “The bipartisan Higher Education Mental Health Act will enable our higher education institutions to further support the needs of students by providing comprehensive guidance and resources to ensure they are set up for success.”

“Ensuring that our nation’s young adults have access to the mental health support that they need is critical,” said Rep. John Joyce (R-PA). “As a physician, I’m proud to co-sponsor the Higher Education Mental Health Act so we can diagnose the growing trend of students suffering from mental health challenges and deliver results that address these issues.”

“Our bright, diverse and academically talented students face mental health challenges that deeply affect our student body, our faculty, and the staff who support the university,” said Darryll Pines, President of the University of Maryland. “We welcome resources that help us study student needs and think through how to continue addressing this national issue, and we especially appreciate an inclusive, equitable approach to mental health.”

“Providing the mental health services our students need is a challenge all colleges and universities are actively attempting to address. The Higher Education Mental Health Act of 2021, which is being introduced by Congressman David Trone, creates a structure for developing innovative strategies through a broad-based commission composed of experts in this field. I applaud this initiative, and plan to work for its passage,” said Dr. Richard Midcap, President of Garrett College.

“Attending college and receiving job training is a stressful time, whether or not a person has a mental health issue. There is pressure to perform well, as well as manage academic demands, family obligations, and often job responsibilities. In some cases, it impacts the ability of a student to remain in college and complete the credentials needed to be successful. The global COVID-19 has exacerbated an already challenging time for our students. At Allegany College of Maryland, we are very supportive of research-driven approaches to improve access to mental health services and in turn, increase retention and graduation rates, as well as prepare students to meet the needs of our communities,” said Dr. Cynthia S. Bambara, President of Allegany College.

“As the president of a university that is responding to an increased need for student mental health services accentuated by the uncertainty and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, I applaud Rep. David Trone’s bill to form a national commission to study students’ mental health concerns,” said Tim Trainor, President of Mount St. Mary’s University. “Higher education institutions would greatly appreciate a partnership with state and federal governments to improve mental health services and support the ever-growing number of students with mental health concerns.

The bill is cosponsored by Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Susan Wild (D-PA), and John Joyce (R-PA).

For bill text, click here.

For one-pager, click here.

The Higher Education Mental Health Act is ensdorsed by ACPA – College Student Education International, Active Minds, ACTNow for Mental Health, Allegany College of Maryland,  American Counseling Association, American College Health Association (ACHA),  American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Group Psychotherapy Association, American Psychological Association, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,  American Therapeutic Recreation Association,  Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare, Association on Higher Education and Disability,  Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA), Autism Society of America,  Coalition to End Social Isolation & Loneliness, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance,  Garrett College,  Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice, Higher Education Consortium for Special Education, International OCD Foundation, JED Foundation,  Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association for Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment (NABITA), National Association of Councils of Developmental Disabilities, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, National Board of Certified Counselors, National Disability Rights Network, National League of Nursing, National Registrar of Health Service Psychologists, NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation, SMART Recovery, Teacher Education Division of the Council for Expectational Children, The Crisis Residential Association, The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health, The Trevor Project, University of California Student Association, Well Being Trust, Youth Power Project

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations, Budget, and Joint Economic Committees in the 118th Congress. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the mental health and addiction crises, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

Follow Congressman Trone at @RepDavidTrone for updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.