Biden will hold tech companies accountable for mental health


President BidenJoe BidenRubio jumps SOTU on COVID-19 test mandate: ‘I don’t have time’ Arizona GOP asks court to strike down voting-by-mail system US views Putin’s nuclear threat as posturing MORE will outline a plan to tackle the mental health crisis during his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, which will focus heavily on holding social media companies accountable for their role in it.

The Biden administration argues that the youth mental health crisis is being “amplified by the big social media platforms, which for years have been running a nationwide experiment on our kids and using their data to get them to click, with many enormous consequences,” according to senior administration officials.

In his address, Biden will ask Congress to strengthen privacy protections, ban advertising targeted at children, and demand that tech companies stop collecting personal data about children.

“The evidence is mounting that social media plays a systemic role in worsening the mental health of countless young people,” senior administration officials said.

The strategy to address the mental health crisis is part of an overarching “unity agenda” that the president will present in the State of the Union.

Officials noted staggering mental health statistics, including that students are about five months behind in math and four months behind in reading, compared to students before the pandemic and ER visits for attempted suicide have increased. 51% among teenage girls.

Biden will ask Congress to ban excessive data collection and targeted online advertising for children and youth and include at least $5 million in his fiscal year 2023 budget to advance harms research of social media, as well as the clinical and societal interventions to deploy to combat them.

“The president believes technology companies should be held accountable for the damage they cause and believes we need to take action here,” officials said.

Officials added that some elements of this require legislation, but there are also elements that they believe we are doing administratively, particularly around researching and understanding harm.

Efforts to support Americans by creating healthy environments are the third pillar of an approach Biden will outline to address the mental health crisis, which also involves building system capacity and connecting Americans to care. .

The president will include a $700 million investment in clinician training and support programs in his budget in an effort to expand the pipeline of behavioral health providers.

The funding is intended to build on last year’s $103 million U.S. bailout to tackle burnout and build resilience among healthcare workers.

The administration will launch a crisis hotline in July, so every American in crisis can dial ‘988’ to be connected to support. The president will include nearly $700 million to staff crisis centers, which will build on the $180 million from the U.S. bailout to support local capacity to respond to crisis calls.

To increase access to care, Biden’s budget will propose that all health plans cover behavioral health services with an adequate network of providers, including three behavioral health visits each year without cost sharing. Biden will also call for expanding access to telehealth and access to mental health support in schools, colleges and universities.

A 2008 law signed by President George W. Bush required that when employers provide mental health and substance use disorder services as part of their health plans, they not be allowed to impose less favorable benefit limitations on these benefits than on medical and surgical benefits.

“This standard is too often ignored, and this administration is taking significant steps to enforce the law,” officials said.


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