Senator Collins asks the experts about the COV…

Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ Q&A with Dr. Prinstein on children’s mental health.

Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ Q&A with Ms. Goldsby on non-fatal overdoses.

washington d.c. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), a member of the Senate Health Committee, interviewed mental health and addictions experts during a hearing titled “Mental Health and Addiction Disorders: Responding to the growing crisis”. Three medical groups representing pediatricians, child psychiatrists and children’s hospitals – the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Association of Children’s Hospitals – recently declared a national mental health emergency for children. children and teenagers.

Witnesses testifying today included Mitch Prinstein, PhD, ABPPscientific director of the American Psychological Association, and Sara Goldbydirector of the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Services.

Senator Collins began by asking Dr. Prinstein about the impact the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has had on children’s mental health. She referenced two recent columns by David Leonhardt of The New York Times, which highlighted how pandemic restrictions have led to learning loss, social isolation and widespread mental health issues among children.

Senator Collins said“Given that the pandemic has been going on for two years, which is a good part of many children’s lives, what should we do as policy makers to balance pandemic response policies with the serious concerns that many parents have expressed to me about the impact on their children’s mental health, social isolation, remote learning, restricted activities that they directly see harm the social and mental development of their children?

Dr. Prinstein explained that children experience mental health issues for a multitude of reasons, including loss of loved ones, disruption of their roles and routines, and polarization among our country’s leaders. He added that the increase in time spent on social media also has dangerous effects on the personal and brain development of children.

Dr. Prinstein replied“This is an opportunity for us to really build into the fabric of how we educate, how we talk within our communities, about the importance of mental health and resilience programs. Our whole system mental health is currently designed for adults; it is also designed for people who are already in crisis and need treatment. This is not what the science suggests. What we could do now, and what this gives us the opportunity to do is pay attention to all those people who are at risk, or who haven’t even shown any psychological symptoms yet, and build the resilience necessary to ensure that they will never need outpatient or inpatient treatment.

Senator Collins then turned to the subject of non-fatal overdoses and asked Ms. Goldsby how we can help people struggling with addiction.

Senator Collins said“An estimated 636 people in Maine died of drug overdoses last year. 8,000 overdoses in the state of Maine, where through the heroic efforts of first responders, medical professionals and sometimes bystanders, they were saved How can we ensure that non-fatal overdose patients are not simply a statistic, but are getting the care they need to prevent a later, life-threatening overdose?”

Ms Goldsby replied“Overdose reversal in South Carolina is referred to as an intervention. And it’s when someone has faced a life-threatening situation that they can best be reached by someone who offers him hope – hope to live, hope for a path to healing. And I think those response services are critical because we do more outreach, because our first responders save lives, taking advantage of this critical moment of crisis to engage people in services that will put them on a path to long-term recovery. And so that can come in a number of ways with a number of different programming. But I think it’s t is in this moment, this saving moment, that we truly engage in treatment services.

Senator Collins has repeatedly urged senior public health officials on the importance of reopening schools and protecting children’s mental health. In September 2021, she asked US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and US Department of Education Secretary Dr. Miguel Cardona about fully reopening schools. Following this push, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated COVID-19 testing guidelines in December 2021 that allow more children to continue to learn safely in person in the classroom.

As a member of the Senate Health and Appropriations Committees, Senator Collins is dedicated to providing Mainers and local communities with the treatment and resources they need to fight the opioid epidemic. Last month, Senators Collins, Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced a bipartisan bill to expand access to mental health resources during public health emergencies. In November 2021, Sen. Collins joined Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in introducing bipartisan legislation to help hospitals hire and train doctors in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, and addiction medicine. pain management.

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