NAMI Applauds President Biden’s Focus on Mental Health in the State of the Union Address
Mar 01 2022
Arlington, VA — President Biden tonight will deliver his first State of the Union Address, and based on an announcement today from the White House, addressing our country’s mental health crisis is one of the top priorities expected to be included his speech. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today released the following statement from its CEO, Daniel H. Gillison Jr.:
“NAMI applauds President Biden for his unprecedented focus on mental health in the State of the Union address, providing the national attention that our ongoing mental health crisis deserves. From expanding our mental health workforce and reimagining our response to mental health crises to increasing access to care and supporting the mental health of our youth and young adults, the President is proposing bold investments in our mental health infrastructure. These investments and policy solutions could not come at a more critical time. As our mental health crisis continues to intensify at an alarming rate, we must put bipartisan, common-sense solutions into practice. We thank the President for his leadership in advancing this effort and we call upon Congress to pass legislation meeting the nation’s mental health needs.”
The White House identified several key areas that the President is prioritizing in his strategy to address our national mental health crisis, which align with NAMI’s policy priorities. These include:
- Expanding the capacity of our systems to meet the needs of Americans’ mental health:
- A $700 million investment in training, scholarships and loan repayment programs to build the supply, diversity and cultural competency of our mental health and substance use workforce.
- A nearly $700 million investment to launch the 988 crisis response line and strengthen community-based crisis response as the nation prepares for the 988 rollout starting this July.
- Building a national certification program to accelerate universal adoption, recognition and integration of the peer mental health workforce.
- Promoting the mental well-being of our frontline health and safety workforce.
- Expanding and making permanent the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) program.
- Ensuring that every American can access mental health and substance use care:
- Further making parity a reality by proposing that all health plans cover robust behavioral health services with an adequate network of providers, including three free behavioral health visits each year.
- $1 billion investment to double the number of school-based mental health professionals.
- Doubling funding for primary and behavioral health integration programs.
- Improving veterans’ access to same-day mental health care by fully implementing the Primary Care Mental Health Integration and Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program.
- Permanently expanding access to tele- and virtual mental health care options.
- Supporting Americans by creating healthy environments through:
- $70 million investment in expanding early childhood and school-based intervention services and supports.
- Instituting stronger online protections for young people.
- $5 million investment in research on social media’s mental health harms to youth.
- Increasing mental health resources for justice-involved populations by providing behavioral health care, case management services, family services and other transitional programming for adults returning from incarceration into the community.
“Our nation is at a transformative moment, with many opportunities ahead to rethink how we provide mental health services and supports,” Gillison said. “NAMI looks forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress to leverage these opportunities and help all people affected by mental health conditions. By taking these steps today, we can achieve a healthier and more equitable tomorrow.”
NAMI calls on advocates to urge their members of Congress to implement the President's mental health proposals without delay. Show your support here.