House Committee Holds Hearing on COVID-19 Impacts on Children, Highlights Mental Health Impacts
On September 22, the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce (E&C) held a hearing to address the public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children. Witnesses included President of the American Academy of Pediatrics Dr. Lee Savio Beers, President of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Dr. Margaret G. Rush, Chief Executive Officer of the American Psychological Association (a COSSA governing member) Dr. Arthur Evans, founder of VaxTeen Kelly Danielpour, and Epidemiologist Dr. Tracy Beth Hoeg.
Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO), Ranking Member Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and full Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) all made remarks about the negative health effects in children from the pandemic, with much importance placed on the behavioral and mental health of children. Behavioral and mental health played a central role in the hearing, with discussions touching on the funding and quality of mental health services in schools, specific issues affecting children from racial and gender minority groups, challenges arising from remote schooling, and disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations among school-aged children. In his testimony, Dr. Evans noted that behavioral and mental health services for children must also outlast the current COVID-19 crisis, stating, “If we are to systematically reimagine the way we provide both physical and mental health care, our response cannot just be COVID-centric, but must be sustainable, equitable, and forward thinking.” Statements from DeGette, Griffith, Pallone, and each of the witnesses are available on the E&C website.