Mental Health Reform Act garners bipartisan support, praise
The measure garnered bipartisan praise when presented at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee hearing on Jan. 20 -- not only from lawmakers, but from many industry stakeholders as well. Americans have long lobbied for more effective solutions to the need for resources, care coordination, programming and related support systems to address mental health conditions.
“The legislation that Sens. Murphy and Cassidy have worked on together would take some very important steps to better integrate mental and physical health care,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said.
Having co-sponsored the bill, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) concurred, pointing out that a current exclusion applied to psychiatric patients could consequently be lifted, allowing people to get much-needed help.
“There is no doubt that the current system is broken,” she said. “Millions of Americans who are living with a serious mental illness all too often lack access to the care that they need.”
Research indicates that approximately one out of every five adult Americans experiences mental illness, with suicide and shortened lifespans prevalent among the troubled. It has been postulated that large portions of prison and homeless populations suffer from mental illness of some form.
“NAMI is proud to offer our support for this strong bipartisan effort to address the current poor outcomes for many people with mental illnesses and promote earlier intervention,” NAMI Executive Director Mary Giliberti said. “This legislation is an important step forward in bringing greater accountability to our public mental health system and hope to individuals and families seeking treatment, services and recovery.”
The legislation, endorsed by many national mental health, psychiatry and social work associations, will encourage integration of physical and mental health care, designate an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, create grants for early intervention and strengthen communication and support between the government, scientists and health care organizations.
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U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy 3421 North Causeway Boulevard Metairie, LA 70002