Three bipartisan Katko bills pass House as part of larger mental health package

Three bipartisan bills authored by U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) to increase funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, improve mental health services for students, and promote access to care in underserved communities recently received approval from the U.S. House of Representatives as part of a larger mental health legislative package. 

“As co-chair of the Bipartisan Mental Health Caucus, ensuring access to quality mental health services for central New Yorkers has been a priority since my first day in Congress,” Rep. Katko said. “Our country is facing a mental health crisis, and these bills address this crisis by expanding access to mental healthcare for children and adolescents, supporting suicide crisis centers like Contact Community Services in Syracuse, and expanding the availability of mental health services in underserved communities.”

Rep. Katko’s three bills received House approval on June 22 as part of the bipartisan Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, H.R. 7666, a package of legislation to combat mental illness and substance use disorder introduced in May by U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).

H.R. 7666 includes the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act of 2021, H.R. 2981, which Rep. Katko sponsored in May 2021 with lead cosponsor U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) to increase authorized funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline from $12 million to $50 million. The House approved H.R. 2981 that same month.

Additionally, H.R. 7666 includes the Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2021, H.R. 721, which Rep. Katko cosponsored with bill sponsor Rep. Napolitano to authorize $130 million in grant funding for schools to partner with local mental health professionals to establish comprehensive mental health services for students, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Katko’s staff. The House also in May 2021 approved H.R. 721.

Lastly, H.R. 7666 includes the Minority Fellowship Reauthorization Act of 2022, H.R. 7857. Rep. Katko on May 19 signed on as the lead original cosponsor of H.R. 7857, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) to promote access to mental healthcare for minority communities by reauthorizing funding to improve the pipeline of culturally competent providers, build outreach programs that reduce stigma, and develop training programs for providers to effectively manage mental health disparities, according to the lawmakers’ bill summary.

“I am proud to announce the passage of these three measures as part of the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act,” said Rep. Katko.

The U.S. Senate on June 23 received the larger H.R. 7666 and referred the measure to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee for consideration.