MD bill being pushed to create task force to study access to mental health care in higher education

MARYLAND- A bill heard by the Maryland State Senate’s Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee this week would create a task force to study access to mental health care in higher education.

State Senator Addie Eckardt is helping sponsor it.

“We want to learn as much as we can because we know that increasing students have come to us saying there’s not enough resources seven days a week for the kind of issues that our young people are experiencing,” Senator Eckardt, said.

Senate Bill 161 would require a Task Force to study and make recommendations regarding barriers to providing mental health service on campus, the use of telemedicine, video conferencing, and implementation of counseling services.

“We need the data, we need good sound, scientific evidence to the best that we can get it, and we need to gather what’s already happening before we can ever make any recommendations about where we need to next,” Senator Eckardt, said.

Senator Eckardt said creating this Task Force is even more essential right now since the pandemic created additional stressors that students are facing when coming back on campus.

“Nobody prepared for this pandemic there was no way we could’ve prepared for this so it has created such an interruption of everybody’s life,” Senator Eckardt, said.

Salisbury University students I spoke with said they too think added resources for students struggling during COVID-19 could be positive.

“I think it would be good to have some more of that around here because, especially because kids, we’ve missed so much and stuff has gone terrible the past year,” Charlie Romeo, an SU Freshman, said.

“I know other students will likely see that, so that can be helpful for others,” Joshua Pindell, an SU student, said.

We are told Senate Bill 161 is cross-filed with House Bill 244.

Senator Eckardt said they put the bill was put before the floor last year, but COVID-19 interrupted the session and the bill was not acted upon.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, Maryland