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APA Statement on President Biden’s National Strategy to Address Our Mental Health Crisis

  • March 01, 2022

At tonight’s State of the Union speech, President Biden unveiled a new “Strategy to Address Our Mental Health Crisis.” The American Psychiatric Association (APA) applauds the Biden Administration's efforts to elevate national attention to this important societal imperative and to put policies in place that will ensure millions of Americans have access to the care they need.

“To see the mental health crisis elevated to this level by the President is truly an encouraging sign,” said APA President Vivian Pender, M.D. “The mental health crisis is, indeed, something that affects us all, regardless of politics, geography, race or ethnicity: there is no health without mental health. Now we need action to put new measures and funding into place, while also ensuring that we are implementing any policies in a way that decreases inequity in the provision of care.”

“Before COVID, the country was already dealing with high suicide rates as well as the opioid epidemic. Now we are faced with the continuing and long-term impacts of the pandemic on people’s mental wellness, and unprecedented child and adolescent mental health care demand. The administration’s comprehensive and wide-ranging plan, if enacted, will help psychiatrists and our partners and communities heal our nation,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “Our membership stands ready to support these efforts. President Biden’s speech helps to ensure that mental health is treated the same as general health care.”

Among the key provisions in the plan APA supports are investment in training for clinicians; ensuring access to adequate networks and coverage for affordable mental health care through the enforcement of mental health parity; integration of mental health and substance use care into the primary care setting; expansion of telehealth services; resources to help health care workers with burnout; improvements in health equity strengthening the crisis continuum of care in our communities along with the 988 rollout in July; and strengthening community mental health services.

APA is also pleased to see that the administration’s plan includes needed attention to veterans’ mental health, school programs, and those involved with the justice system, as well as a focus on how social media is impacting the nation’s mental health.

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 37,400 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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