Members of Congress Address Mental Health Crisis at Kennedy Forum Event

The Kennedy Forum hosted “Agenda for Change: Unite. Connect. Act.” last week, an event on Capitol Hill featuring members of congress, advocates, consumers, and philanthropists who discussed the current mental health crisis and steps for action.

Rep. David Trone (D-MD) shared an update on the bipartisan Freshmen Working Group on Addiction and noted the importance of recognizing the co-occurring conditions of people seeking treatment. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) highlighted her career experience as a Clinical Psychologist and mentioned several mental health bills she has sponsored including H.R.884 – Medicare Mental Health Access Act and H.R.2958 – Increasing Access to Mental Health in Schools Act.

Rep. Chu and Daniel Gillison, CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, both spoke about the role stigma continues to play in preventing people from receiving the care they need. While there are important policy solutions, they encouraged attendees to think about providing care directly in communities.

Parity came up several times and Andy Slavitt, Former Acting Administrator, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, shared a new report from Milliman that shows widening disparities in network use and provider reimbursement for addiction and mental health vs. physical health.

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Former Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) both shared personal stories and emphasized the need for bipartisan support for mental health and addiction services that are inclusive.

You can watch the full Kennedy Forum event below:

Guest Author

Natalie Weiner
Policy & Advocacy