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APA & 29 Organizations Urge Senate to Vote on Comprehensive Mental Health Reform

     

Earlier this week, The American Psychiatric Association along with 29 allied organizations sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid urging them to bring S.2680, also known as the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016, to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as possible. In light of the House of Representatives having overwhelmingly voted to pass H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, we believe that the time is now for the Senate to take action on mental health reform.

Despite a high frequency of mental illness in the United States, we still face a number of persistent barriers that can make it extremely difficult or even impossible for many of the 68 million Americans who have experienced mental illness in the past year to access care. The movement to reform our nation’s broken mental health system is aimed at tearing down those barriers.

A large part of that effort is coordinating mental health service delivery systems, which are now largely fragmented. This bipartisan bill specifically addresses that particular issue by strengthening federal coordination of mental health resources.

The bill also includes necessary measures aimed at increased reporting on parity enforcement, advancing integrated care delivery, supporting and growing the mental health workforce, and increasing early access to mental health services. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee voted unanimously to advance S.2680 to the full Senate in April.

It is our hope, and that of our distinguished colleagues who have co-signed the letter with us, that the Senate will show leadership and support the cause of comprehensive mental health reform by passing this bill.

Millions of Americans who can’t access the care they need to address their mental illness are suffering, and need meaningful and lasting change to a broken system to improve their quality of life. Bills like S. 2680 represent the critical first step in achieving that end, and the passage of it and other mental health reform legislation can bring millions of Americans and their families the help they need. Meanwhile, the APA will continue to lend our ardent support to making sure that mental health reform takes hold as soon as possible.

Read the full text of the letter we sent to the leadership of the Senate.

     

Patients and Families

 

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