April 11, 2022

Cassidy, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Expand Research on COVID Impacts on Mental Health and Brain Function

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today introduced the Brycen Gray and Ben Price COVID-19 Cognitive Research Act, which would authorize the National Science Foundation to fund research on mental illnesses associated with both short-term and long-term COVID–19 infections among adults, children and adolescents.

“The pandemic showed us the need to prioritize mental health and support those suffering,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our bill increases research into COVID’s short- and long-term impacts on mental health and effects on the brain.”  

“Ben Price and Brycen Gray are just two of the many Americans across our nation who have tragically lost their lives to neurological illnesses that may have been triggered by COVID-19—even though they had no history of mental illness prior to becoming infected by this deadly virus,” said Senator Duckworth. “There is so much more we must do to better understand COVID-19 and its impacts on people’s lives at a fundamental level. I’m proud to introduce the Brycen Gray and Ben Price COVID-19 Cognitive Research Act with Senators Cassidy and Brown to help expand research into this issue, honor those we’ve lost and work to prevent future tragedies.” 

“As a result of the pandemic, people have experienced isolation, fear, disruption to routines, and in too many cases, the death of a caregiver or a loved one – as was the case for the family of Brycen Gray, who tragically lost his life to suicide a year ago. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have had on mental health have been stark – but we still have a lot of work to do before we can understand the full scope of long-term, neurological disorders that stem from the virus,” said Senator Brown. “This legislation is an important first step toward understanding, treating, and ultimately preventing those long-term side effects that harm our physical health and our mental health.”

U.S. Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.