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Shaheen Visits Salem High School, Discusses COVID-19 Relief to Help Granite State Schools Reopen & Operate Safely

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Shaheen speaks to school faculty and administrators during her visit to Salem High School this morning. Uncompressed versions of these photos can be found here.

Later: Shaheen Hosts Virtual Discussion on Teen Mental Health Crisis in New Hampshire

(Salem, NH) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) visited Salem High School to discuss federal resources from the CARES Act, the December COVID-19 response package and the American Rescue Plan that will help New Hampshire schools safely reopen and support students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The visit follows Shaheen’s recent announcement of $350.5 million from the American Rescue Plan for schools in New Hampshire.

This funding comes in addition to $40.9 million that Shaheen announced last month to help Granite State schools quickly create and strengthen COVID-19 testing programs to facilitate the reopening process.

“The teachers and administrators of Salem Public Schools, like those in other Granite State communities, have done a tremendous job serving students during this pandemic, working tirelessly to adapt to the challenges they have faced amid these extremely challenging times,” said Senator Shaheen. “As Granite State schools prepare to fully reopen, we need to ensure they are given every possible resource to address the full scope of this crisis’ impact on our education system. That’s why I prioritized education funding in the American Rescue Plan and previous federal relief legislation – to help protect the health and safety of students and staff, address learning loss, respond to the social and emotional challenges students have faced over the past year and much more. I appreciated my conversations this morning with Superintendent Delahanty and Salem School District staff and will continue to work in the Senate to ensure New Hampshire schools, teachers and staff get the help they need to support our students.”

Later, Shaheen hosted a virtual discussion with New Hampshire stakeholders and advocates to discuss the youth and teen mental health crisis facing the state. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a serious toll on the mental health of Granite Staters – particularly young people. Over the past year, a record number of New Hampshire children have sought psychiatric care. 2020 also saw a nearly 20% increase in the number of children calling a state-wide mental health crisis hotline. Compounding these difficulties are severe financial difficulties that many mental health providers across the state are facing that threaten their ability to stay open.

The discussion can be viewed here.

During the event, Shaheen discussed with local experts how young Americans have struggled with their mental health during the pandemic and how Congress can address this crisis through additional resources and legislative action. Shaheen fought for the inclusion of $4.25 billion in funding to support substance use disorder treatment and mental health care services in New Hampshire and across the country in the emergency COVID relief legislation that became law in December. The Shaheen-backed American Rescue Plan also included $3.9 billion in emergency funding for substance use and mental health programs, which included funding to improve children’s access to mental health care and support community mental health providers.

“While this pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of all Granite Staters, the impact has been particularly severe on our young people. Over the past year, youth in New Hampshire and across the country have coped with enormous grief, stress, anxiety and trauma from the devastating fallout of COVID-19. This stems from a variety of factors, including the loss of loved ones, separation from friends and community members, disruptions in their education afloat and other difficult situations. Making matters worse, our mental health centers, which were already overburdened and underfunded before this pandemic, are on the verge of a breaking point,” said Senator Shaheen. “As I told stakeholders and advocates this afternoon, this is a serious crisis that demands action from Congress, which is why I worked to secure federal funding in COVID-19 relief legislation to address the mental health challenges faced by Granite Staters of all ages. I’ll keep fighting to secure additional resources that invest in mental health as our communities start to look toward the road to recovery.”