As per U.S. Census Bureau, 42% of Americans reported having symptoms of depression in the previous year. The number has grown by a mighty leap of 11% since the previous year. The growing number of mental health issues is one of the most important issues we face as a country. And just like all other issues, it is important to be well-represented and discussed with the federal government.
Several advocates of inclusive and accessible mental healthcare for all have been working around the clock. However, a lot of the responsibility in terms of providing funds and generating awareness falls to the government. Luckily, several mental health bills have been considered and received immense support across political spectrums. These mental health bills have the power to transform into robust mental health legislation.
Mental health bills and, eventually, legislations are essential for various reasons. These include their decisive role in the following:
- protecting the rights of those affected by mental health disorders,
- provide accessible and high-quality care to all patients, and
- reduce associated stigma and misinformation associated with mental illnesses.
On that note, let us dive deeper into the most important mental health bills currently being discussed in the Senate.
1. Mental Health Reform Reauthorization Bill
Senators Chris Murphy and Bill Cassidy introduced the Mental Health Reform Reauthorization Bill to the senate floor in May 2022. Following this, the bill was sent to a committee on health and education. The main plans of the bill are:
- reallowing the initiatives put forward under the 21st Century Cares Act,
- increasing the scope of the review process under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) processes, and
- increasing the current number of workers in the mental healthcare sector.
Read more: Is Mental Health A Global Issue?
2. Mental Health Matters Act
Mental Health Matters Act was passed by the House of Representatives in September 2022. The bill primarily focuses on providing increased resources and mental healthcare support to students, teachers, and families. The main plans of the bill include the following:
- directing the department of education to provide grants for retaining and increasing mental health providers in schools,
- guaranteeing accommodation and inclusivity to students with disabilities, and
- increasing the abilities of the Department of Labor to raise private and sponsored mental health plans and benefits for employees.
3. Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion (RISE) From Trauma Act
The RISE from Trauma Act was introduced in the Senate by Senator Richard Durbin in 2021. The main plans of the bill include the following:
- allocating specific funds toward running pilot programs for supporting the well-being of children with trauma,
- increasing the number of trauma-informed healthcare workers, and
- introducing preventive and awareness-generating projects for patients in hospitals brought under suicide cases to reduce trauma and stress.
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Mental health bills are pivotal in promoting mental health awareness and treatment among the general masses. They are necessary for protecting and safeguarding the rights of vulnerable sections of the country dealing with mental health illnesses and disabilities. With more and more mental healthcare bills being discussed and passed by the federal government, we can hope for a robust system of care and support for those in need.
Mental health support is not just limited to governments and legislators. Every individual at the primary level can contribute toward creating an aware and supportive society. Mental health first aid certification courses are one such way of promoting mental health awareness among the masses and providing adequate primary mental healthcare whenever needed. To know about it, click here.
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