Article Published: 2/18/2022
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a significant increase in the number of individuals reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression and record numbers of drug overdose deaths. In a recent flurry of congressional hearings, mental health experts have renewed calls for increased resources for mental health care, investing in the workforce, expanding access to telehealth, and broadening the continuum of care for individuals in crisis situations. These are among several of the issues that Congress is hoping to address this legislative session. Top senators and representatives said at three hearings—held over a 7-day period in early February—that they plan to pass a “bipartisan” mental health and substance use mental health reform legislative package this year.
Several congressional committee members and witnesses testifying support:
During these initial public hearings in early February, Congress has expressed the dire need for action to better understand the myriad problems and challenges that mental health practitioners and consumers face in providing and accessing needed care. The key Health Committee chairs pledged that Congress will take necessary action this year to address the issues highlighted during the three hearings and make the necessary investments. Time will tell if they can get the job done this year—and in a bipartisan fashion.
NBCC will continue to stress the urgency of addressing the issues highlighted at the hearings through our federal government relations activities and utilizing our grassroots networks and platforms. We have submitted a statement to the House Ways and Means Committee urging them to support H.R. 432, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act, as well as other initiatives that would ensure counselors can provide care where it is needed most. We will continue to advocate for these policies, and we encourage you to visit our Grassroots Action Center to see how you can help!
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