Washington, D.C. (December 21, 2022) — National Council for Mental Wellbeing President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia today issued the following statement in response to Congress unveiling the year-end legislative package, which includes measures to reauthorize vital substance use and mental health programs, address the workforce shortage, expand access to critical services in Medicare and Medicaid, extend telehealth, fund Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs), ensure parity enforcement and remove barriers to care for those with a substance use challenge.
“We can’t address the overwhelming demand for mental health and substance use treatment without implementing strategies immediately to overcome the workforce shortage and reduce barriers to care. That’s why we made it a priority to advocate for workforce and administrative reform measures in this legislation. Workforce provisions to allow licensed mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to provide care for people on Medicare will not only improve recruitment and retention of workers, but also expand access to care for millions of people. And provisions eliminating barriers to prescribing medication-assisted treatment will no doubt save lives.
“This relief, in addition to funding level increases for several key substance use and mental health programs, couldn’t come at a better time.
“We’re deeply grateful to the bipartisan group of lawmakers who worked to create this critical legislation. We’re also grateful for the leadership of Senators Roy Blunt, Debbie Stabenow, John Cornyn and Chris Murphy for their leadership on expanding access to mental health and substance use care through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act earlier this year. As Senator Blunt caps a historic career in the U.S. Senate, we’re forever appreciative of his commitment to mental health, which has contributed to the growth of CCBHCs and improved access to care.
“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed earlier this year is providing significant investment in new resources that will help eliminate barriers to access. The year-end legislative package will supplement those efforts and provide even more support amidst the ongoing mental health and substance use crises.
“The historic steps Congress has taken this year to address the substance use and mental health crisis will make a difference for people and communities for years to come.”
About The National Council
Founded in 1969, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of over 3,300 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults and families they serve. We advocate for policies to ensure equitable access to high-quality services. We build the capacity of mental health and substance use treatment organizations. And we promote greater understanding of mental wellbeing as a core component of comprehensive health and health care. Through our Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, we have trained more than 3 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.