The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act passed the House of Representatives last week with a vote of 422-2. In March the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 was passed out of committee to the full Senate for a vote.
Good news, but as Linda Rosenberg, CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, points out, it could be better. She has an excellent op-ed piece in the The Hill, that describes how the legislation could be improved. Read it here. Below are two paragraphs that are direct quotes from her piece.
“Provisions based on the Excellence in Mental Health Act, sponsored by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), are key ingredients that need to be added to The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.
The Excellence Act offers what everyone – families, law enforcement, policy makers – wants: expanded access; evidence-based mental health and addictions services delivered by skilled staff; peer and family support; 24-hour crisis care; integration of physical and behavioral health care; a community continuum that prevents re-admissions, trauma, and disruptions to home, school and work. And through outcome monitoring, clinics held accountable for measuring patients’ progress and adjusting course when treatments aren’t working as hoped.”
The article is a must read for all those who believe our top priority should be to increase access to services.