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Your mental health is important to me

Over the last few months as I have been having conversations with people in our community. One consistent theme is the mental health impacts that our school-age children are experiencing and the challenges that their families are going through.

While school-age children and their families are certainly not the only ones experiencing mental health crises, children's mental and behavioral health merits particular attention.

This comes up when I talk to nurses, teachers, counselors, my friends, and even my own family.

I understand that what people are going through is frightening, stigmatizing, and isolating. It impacts every corner of their life. I also know that your neighbors, others in our community, and many across the country are also experiencing this struggle.

I want to say to those who are struggling...you are not alone. I see and hear you.

Sometimes, just knowing that someone hears you and understands what you are going through can help. But that alone, is not enough.

Here in Oregon, there is an increasing need for resources for children and families as effects of the last few years are coming to light. As many families know, the ability to provide intervention in the early stages of distress results in the best outcomes, unfortunately there is a limited supply of trained professionals, challenges to accessing services, and limited educational opportunities for those seeking to join the profession. I am working with our state, county, and local leadership to expand resources and access to services, now.

I was pleased to see the University of Oregon's announcement to repurpose the former Concordia University campus—in the heart of Oregon's third congressional district—into a children's behavioral health campus. This facility will help to address the behavioral needs of our children through research, training, and clinical applications. It could not come at a more urgent time as there has never been a greater need for children's behavioral health resources and knowledge.

In Congress, I am fervently working to provide additional resources in mental and behavioral health. I serve on the Ways and Means Committee where we have been hearing from experts and crafting solutions.

I worked with my colleagues to quickly expand telehealth for mental health so that specialists can provide resources for states, local governments, and school districts. I also worked on legislation to allow the FCC to expand and improve the national suicide prevention lifeline—resulting in the implementation of a dedicated 988 number so those in need can quickly access help. And I promoted the STAND UP Act, to encourage middle and high schools to implement mental health screening and suicide prevention measures. A priority is to expand opportunities to attract and train more people in mental and behavioral health fields.

I also want to highlight the work our Senator Ron Wyden is doing leading the Senate Finance Committee where he is laser focused on this issue.

Please know that while we are fighting for more resources in Congress, I understand you also need resources now.

I encourage you to contact these resources if you are in need:

Crisis Lines:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)

Oregon Crisis Text Line 24/7: text OREGON to 741741

Multnomah County Crisis Line: 800-716-9769

Lines for Life 24/7: 800-273-8255

Mental and Behavioral Health Resources:

Statewide Resources, by county

Multnomah County Resources

Coalition of Community Health Clinics

Youth, Teen, and Family Support



Posted on March 5, 2022.