APA Praises Inclusion of Mental Health Funding and Provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 10, 2021 – The American Psychiatric Association applauded the inclusion of several provisions important to mental health in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319), that passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. The final package, which the president is expected to sign soon, includes around $4 billion in funding for programs that support prevention of and treatment for mental health and substance use disorders.

Among the provisions APA supported are:

  • Funding for mental health/substance use disorder (SUD) services through programs like the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.
  • The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, which includes funding for training, educational programs and other initiatives designed to promote mental and behavioral wellness of health care workers.
  • Community behavioral health services, such as the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education), youth suicide prevention and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.
  • Multiple provisions that expand eligibility for premium assistance for individuals under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Increased Medicaid funding, including resources for mobile crisis services and other community based and local behavioral health needs.
  • Funding for pediatric mental health care access grants to promote mental health integration with pediatric primary care.

In addition, mental health services and supports are eligible for a portion of the funding provided to reopen elementary and secondary schools.

“It is essential and heartening that Congress and the administration included funding for our nation’s mental health system in this wave of COVID relief,” said APA President Jeffrey Geller, M.D., M.P.H. “We are particularly pleased to see support for our front-line physicians and other workers, many of whom have made great sacrifices during this time, and many of whom are hurting.”

“We will not recover sufficiently from this pandemic long-term unless we address our mental health with the same urgency and attention as our physical health,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “This package is a huge step in the right direction and we look forward to working with Congress and the administration to implement policies and services that will help all our patients.”

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 38,800 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.

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