NAMI Applauds Congressional Focus on Nation’s Growing Mental Health Crisis

Feb 2, 2022

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today released the following statement from its CEO, Daniel H. Gillison Jr., following two hearings held this week by the Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education and Pensions (HELP) and the House Committee on Ways and Means focused on America’s growing mental health crisis:

“NAMI applauds the HELP and Ways and Means committees’ leadership in holding these vital hearings on a timely and important topic. Our mental health crisis demands that policymakers respond with society-wide solutions so that everyone can access affordable, high-quality, culturally competent mental health care.

“As we know all too well, the pandemic has only worsened our nation’s mental health crisis, with more people showing symptoms of anxiety and depression, suicidal ideation and substance use. When people don’t receive the mental health care they need and deserve, their conditions often worsen and have significant impacts on the individual, their family and their community.

“NAMI was gratified that the voice of lived experience was represented in these conversations. Claire Rhyneer, a Mental Health Youth Advocate from NAMI Anchorage, testified to the HELP Committee and focused on the importance of early intervention and mental health education to make sure that youth and young adults can access the mental health care they need and deserve.

“As Claire so poignantly said, ‘We have an obligation to make a difference,’ and NAMI calls on policymakers to respond to the mental health crisis with the attention and action it requires. We have developed detailed policy solutions to address unmet mental health needs in letters to Committee leadership, which can be found here and here.

“We look forward to supporting congressional leaders in their efforts to advance needed mental health legislation, and we thank them for their focus on an issue impacting so Americans right now.”

You can view Claire Rhyneer’s oral testimony here (starting at the 1:00:15 mark) and her written testimony here.

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