“When we raise our voices, we can make a difference. With tireless optimism and relentless advocacy, we tackle these crises head on and make meaningful change for our field.”Reyna Taylor, Vice President of Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Mental Wellbeing
“CCBHCs have dramatically increased access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment, expanded states capacities to address the overdose crisis, and established innovative partnerships with law enforcement, schools, and hospitals to improve care and prevent hospital readmissions. … The National Council for Mental Wellbeing has been a great partner and advocate in driving change for people living with mental health and substance use disorder challenges.”U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) at Hill Day at Home 2022
“CCBHCs provide a comprehensive set of services with an emphasis on provision of 24/7, 365 crisis care… and care coordination, including partnerships with emergency rooms, law enforcement, and veteran’s groups. It has been proven that [the CCBHC model allows clinics] to serve more people, families and communities in need, and in more areas and it also reduces wait times and allows clinics to hire more staff. It is past time for behavioral health to be treated on a level playing field with the rest of our nation’s health care system.”U.S. Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA-6) at Hill Day at Home 2022
CCBHC: Achieving Nationwide Expansion and Adoption
Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) alleviate decades-old challenges in providing access to mental health and substance use care by ensuring access to integrated and evidence-based care, crisis response, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act (S. 2069/H.R. 4323) would give every state the opportunity to participate in the CCBHC demonstration program and authorize funds for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) CCBHC funding opportunities to support the adoption of the model and prepare for implementation. Take action today to urge your members of Congress to support CCBHCs and the Excellence act!
Fulfilling the Promise of 9-8-8
With a July 2022 launch date for 988 fast approaching, significant investments are needed to improve and expand the suicide prevention, mental health, and substance use crisis care continuum. The National Council urges Congress to pass the 9-8-8 Implementation Act of 2022 (H.R.7116). Congress must provide much needed federal implementation guidance and resources to enable states to establish their 988 systems and align crisis services ahead of the July launch. The 9-8-8 Implementation Act will help ensure the right infrastructure is in place so anyone who needs care and dials 988 has someone to talk to, someone to come to them, and somewhere to go. Contact your legislators now and urge them to support H.R.7116!
Addressing the Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce Shortage in America
Expanding the Medicare workforce to include marriage and family therapists (MFTs), licensed mental health counselors (LMHCs), and peer support specialists will dramatically expand access to lifesaving care for Medicare beneficiaries. Two key pieces of legislation aim to immediately expand access to invaluable mental health and substance use care: the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S.828/H.R. 432) would add an estimated 225,000 providers to the Medicare workforce by allowing MFTs and LMHCs to be reimbursed by Medicare, and the Promoting Effective and Empowering Recovery Services (PEERS) Act (S.2144/H.R. 2767) would allow for the reimbursement of peer support specialists in the Medicare program. Click here to urge your members of Congress to support the mental health and substance use workforce.
Curbing the Substance Use Crisis
In 2021, almost 108,000 people lost their lives to drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 15% increase from the year before. Curbing our nation’s overdose epidemic requires removing regulatory hurdles to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), standardizing prescriber education practices, and expanding access to care for the most vulnerable in our communities. Three bills are currently being considered by Congress, and, if passed, would expand access to treatment services and bolster the workforce: the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act (S. 445/H.R. 1384), the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act (S.2235/H.R. 2067) and the Medicaid Reentry Act (S. 285/H.R. 955). Urge your members of Congress to support this legislation today!
Advocacy Tip of the Week. Check out our Advocacy Handbook! The Handbook has tips and tricks for virtual meetings with legislators, as well as templates for scheduling meetings and sending follow-up emails. Please share with your colleagues and let us know if you have any questions. Also, never miss an alert from the National Council by signing up for our Advocacy Alerts!
HAPPENING ON THE HILL
Celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Each June, we come together to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month, reflect on the communities’ advancements and honor those who are working to achieve equal opportunity for individuals who identify as LGBTQ+. Throughout the month, the National Council will share content, resources and learning opportunities to keep you informed. Visit our new resource directory to learn more!
By Mollie Laird, Policy Associate