Supporting Our Children’s Mental Health

Our children are in crisis. In Eastern Washington and across the country, more students are unhappy and depressed. Mental health emergencies are increasing, and rates of suicide and self harm are rising at alarming rates. 

I hear from parents in our community who tell me their children are so lost and feel alone. As a result, they’re turning to drugs to numb the pain. I can’t help but think of Freeman High School graduate Rayce Rudeen who turned to fentanyl. Six years ago, he overdosed and died. 

Since then, his story has tragically become more common. In Spokane County alone, overdose deaths have nearly tripled. Fentanyl seizures are up 1,100% in the last year. This is a cry for help. We need to do more to support our kids struggling with the overwhelming trials of life. That’s why I’m working to reauthorize the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act to support students’ mental health and suicide prevention efforts. But more must be done. 

Together, we need to send a message to the next generation. We need to tell them: “you matter” and “you aren’t alone.” We are going to keep listening, learning, and leading to make sure help is there and that a more secure future is just around the corner. 

Watch my testimony before the Energy and Commerce Committee here.

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