Senator Roy Blunt is urging Congress to pass a bill that would expand treatment and services for people with mental illnesses. He says work continues to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, and hopes this bill will get people to start talking about the problems associated with mental health, as well as the solutions that are out there.
Blunt’s amendment to the so-called “doc-fix” legislation would set up programs to expand access to mental care.
Blunt says ending the stigma associated with mental care and have open discussions about mental illnesses needs to happen in order to get people the help they need. He says the legislation would also bolster 24-hour crisis care, pair mental and substance abuse treatment, and expand support for families of those with mental health issues.
“Approximately one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder each year nationwide, according to the National Institute of Mental Health,” Blunt said. “We’ve got a model that works to solve these important problems, and passing this bipartisan provision out of committee is an important step forward. Now is the time for Congress to act.”
Glenn Close said, “It is critical that people come out and talk about mental illness to reduce the stigma surrounding those living with mental illness. This legislation is so important in the effort to expand access to mental health services and improve the quality of treatment available. With reduced stigma and discrimination, and increased access to quality care, people living with mental illness can get the treatment they need.”
In addition to Blunt and Stabenow, the Excellence in Mental Health Act is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of Senators including U.S. Senators Mark Begich (Alaska), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Susan Collins (Maine), Chris Coons (Del.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Barbara Mikulski (Md.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and Ron Wyden (Ore.).
Blunt says more than 50 mental health organizations support the Excellence in Mental Health Act, as do veterans organizations and law enforcement organizations.