During the State of the Union address, President Biden outlined a unity agenda, which includes a National Mental Health Strategy, to be part of the next budget proposal. The President’s FY23 budget proposal would make the Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC) program permanent, granting states funding to expand CCBHCs for the communities that need them most, and permanently extend funding for Community Mental Health Centers. Other elements of the strategy include: strengthening provider capacity by investing in workforce and CCBHCs; connecting people to care by strengthening parity and expanding access; and fostering healthy communities through prevention and intervention programs. The strategy focuses on youth mental health, social determinants of health, and equity by using a holistic approach to address the mental health and substance use crises.
ONDCP Releases Plan to Address Addiction and the Overdose Epidemic
Alongside the State of the Union Address, where President Biden outlined new strategies to address the ongoing addiction and overdose crisis, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released a new fact sheet that discusses the Administration’s approach to Addressing Addiction and the Overdose Epidemic. The Plan includes increasing funding for public health and supply reduction, removing barriers to treatment, reducing harms and saving lives, and stopping the trafficking of illicit drugs. These policy priorities continue to build upon the priorities outlined in the first year of the President’s administration and in the American Rescue Plan.
Ways and Means Hearing on Substance Use and Suicide Risk
On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on Substance Use, Suicide Risk, and the American Health System. Members and witnesses discussed the importance of telehealth expansion, maintaining and enhancing accessibility, reducing stigma of serious mental health and substance use disorders, solutions to the youth mental health crisis, and equity and cultural competence in mental health. Solutions to access barriers to substance use disorder treatment, particularly through health insurance coverage, medication assisted treatment (MAT), and telehealth, were a primary focus of this hearing. To read a summary of this hearing, click here.
New Report on Children’s Mental Health Reveals Ongoing Public Health Concern
Last week, a report examining surveillance data on children’s mental health from 2013-2019 was published. The report indicates that mental health among children remains a substantial public health concern. Using public health surveillance data, researchers found that among youth ages 3-17, the most prevalent disorders diagnosed were attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and anxiety. Further, one out of every five children ages 12-17 had experienced a major depressive episode. Tragically, only about 10% of children ages 3-17 received mental health services. For more information and to read the report, click here.
WHO Finds 25% Increase in Prevalence of Anxiety and Depression During Pandemic
The prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25% worldwide in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a brief released by the World Health Organization (WHO) this week. Multiple stress factors and widening gaps in care significantly contributed to this increase. Constraints on the ability to seek support, engage in communities and work, as well as disruptions and gaps in mental health services were linked to these barriers in the study. Further, young people are increasingly and disproportionately at-risk for suicide and self-harm, with expected long-term impacts of the pandemic. WHO is encouraging countries to prioritize and invest in the mental health of their citizens. To read the brief, click here.
Webinar on Racial Disparities in the Course of Illness, Treatment and Recovery for SUD
Join the Substance Use Interest Group on March 10th at 1:00 PM ET for a webinar on Racial Disparities in the Course of Illness, Treatment and Recovery for Substance Use Disorder. Racial disparities across the continuum of opioid use disorder treatment remain. The discussion, led by Dr. Corrie Vilsaint of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, will focus on racial literacy, course of illness and recovery, and actionable strategies for a recovery transformation. To register, click here.
Webinar on What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Washington. The Congressional Management Foundation will hold a webinar on March 15 at 3:00 PM EST on What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Washington. This webinar will provide participants with an entertaining and informative way of understanding our democratic institutions. For more information and to register, click here.
HAPPENING ON THE HILL
STANDUP Act Passed in Congress. The House and Senate have passed the Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention Act of 2021 or the STANDUP Act of 2021. The legislation requires HHS to give preference to state, tribal, and local educational agencies that implement evidence-based suicide awareness and prevention training strategies. This legislation will now go to the President for his signature.
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