The First Major Mental Health Legislation in Nearly a Decade – Ready to be Signed by President Obama

Talks about how to improve mental health have long been swept under the rug and kept there, however earlier this year the House of Representatives changed that by introducing the 21st Century Cures Act. The bill emphasizes a parity between mental and physical health and has included grants to increase the number of existing mental health practitioners.

(Fun fact: According to the United States Department of Labor’s Statistics, there were only 552,000 mental health professionals in 2011. To put that into perspective, there are over 322 million people living in the U.S. today.)
To increase the number of psychologists, therapists, counselors and psychiatrists would be a huge step forward in the health of our nation.

Mental illness is a serious condition that affects a person’s thinking, feelings and mood. Both the body and the mind need to be well for a person to be healthy. So how many of our representatives voted for this? In the house it passed 392 to 26. In the senate 94 to 5. This overwhelming response is being sent to the President’s desk where he has promised to sign it.

President Obama’s top 5 things about the 21st Century Cures Act:

  • Invest $1 Billion this year to combat the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic
  • Invest $1.8 Billion into cancer research (specifically Cancer Moonshot)
  • Invest $3 Billion to continue the President’s BRAIN and Precision Medicine initiatives.
  • Bipartisan support for mental health reforms that address issues such as suicide prevention and serious mental illness
  • Patients voices will be heard in the FDA’s drug development process

SecureVideo’s top 5 things about bipartisan support for mental health reforms:

  • The bipartisan support for the increase in mental health professionals.
  • The focus on prevention as well as treatment.
  • The structural changes to how federal agencies provide mental health services (more intertwined for greater communication and better coordination).
  • More funding overall for mental health treatment.
  • The intensive study and expansion of Telehealth services.