American Psychiatric Association To Offer Solutions at White House Mental Health Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. – American Psychiatric Association (APA) President Bruce Schwartz, M.D., will be among many mental health advocates and others attending a White House Summit on Transforming Mental Health Treatment tomorrow, Dec. 19.

The summit will cover a wide range of topics, during which Dr. Schwartz will put forth the APA’s positions on several key mental health issues, including:

  • Improving Access to Treatment and Services for People with Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: APA urges policymakers to take steps to address the lack of available services for people with mental health and substance use issues, including shortages of hospital beds and workforce. To address the workforce needs we need to implement effective new and innovative health care delivery models such as the Collaborative Care Model. We need to provide more treatment options for people in crisis and living in rural areas such as telemedicine.
  • Violence and Firearms: The majority of violence in our society is not perpetrated by people with mental illness. In fact, people with mental illness are much more likely to be victims of violence. Reducing firearm-related violence and suicide requires keeping firearms out of the hands of persons who may harm themselves or others. APA supports restrictions that are applied appropriately by limiting access to such individuals rather than limiting access solely on the basis of a mental or substance use disorder. The APA also calls for further research into firearm violence, which is a public health crisis.
  • Enforcement of Mental Health Parity and Related Anti-Discrimination Laws: Despite passage of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in 2008, many insurance plans continue to discriminate against people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders. APA asks that state and federal policymakers hold health insurance plans accountable to the law and ensure that mental health and substance abuse benefits are treated the same as all other health benefits. The APA continues to advocate for parity-enforcement legislation at the state and federal level.

“In the midst of the opioid epidemic and the increasing rates of suicide, state and federal governments must come together to elevate the priority of mental health in America,” Schwartz said. “As medical leaders, we have an obligation to advocate for our patients and bring forth solutions to improving mental health care in the U.S.”

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,500 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org.

Media Contacts

Glenn O'Neal, 202-459-9732
press@psych.org

Erin Connors, 202-609-7113
econnors@psych.org