Wednesday, March 2, 2022

APA Welcomes President’s Strategy to Address Nation’s Mental Health Crisis

APA is applauding President Joe Biden’s “Strategy to Address Our Mental Health Crisis,” which he announced last night during his State of the Union address.

APA leaders said that the strategy elevates national attention to improve the nation’s mental health and devotes federal resources to policies that will ensure millions of Americans have access to the care they need.

“To see the mental health crisis elevated to this level by the president is truly an encouraging sign,” APA President Vivian Pender, M.D., said in a media release. “The mental health crisis is, indeed, something that affects us all, regardless of politics, geography, race, or ethnicity: There is no health without mental health. Now we need action to put new measures and funding into place, while also ensuring that we are implementing any policies in a way that decreases inequity in the provision of care.”

Among the key provisions in the plan are the following:

  • Investment in training for mental health professionals and resources to increase the mental health workforce.
  • Investment in community mental health services, veterans’ mental health, and school programs and services for those involved with the justice system.
  • Enforcement of mental health parity.
  • Development of resources to help health care workers experiencing burnout.
  • Integration of mental health and substance use care into the primary care setting.
  • Expansion of telehealth services.
  • Investment in research on the effects of social media on mental health and efforts to enhance children’s online safety.

“Before COVID, the country was already dealing with high suicide rates as well as the opioid epidemic,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “Now we are faced with the continuing and long-term impacts of the pandemic on people’s mental wellness and unprecedented child and adolescent mental health care demand. The administration’s comprehensive and wide-ranging plan, if enacted, will help psychiatrists and our partners and communities heal our nation. Our membership stands ready to support these efforts. President Biden’s speech helps to ensure that mental health is treated the same as general health care.”

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