U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) reintroduced bipartisan legislation directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to establish a Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Network. These grants would go to eligible entities offering appropriate mental health and addiction services, including Indian tribes, qualified nonprofit organizations, and health care providers.
The Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act would include an emergency authorization of $100 million to initiate or expand programs offering mental health and substance use disorder services in response to the pandemic, including support groups, telephone helplines and websites, training programs, telehealth services, and outreach services.
“This pandemic has been hard on Americans. Now more than ever, we must prioritize mental health by dedicating resources like telehealth, support groups, and outreach services so people can get the help that they need,” said Senator Young. “I introduced the Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act to provide mental health and addiction services and treatment to Hoosiers struggling at home.”
Companion legislation is led in the House of Representatives by Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and John Katko (R-N.Y.).
The Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act has been endorsed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness; American Counseling Association; Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation; American Psychiatric Association; and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Our nation is facing an unprecedented mental health challenge in response to the coronavirus outbreak. For many people who live with mental illness and substance use disorders, fear of the virus, increased economic hardship, and the challenge of maintaining a safe distance from others have created new mental health and addiction hurdles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use in late June. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll also found that 53% of U.S. adults reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress about the coronavirus.
Additional relief is needed to address the growing mental health and addiction crisis in the United States and to advance an effective and comprehensive public health response to the pandemic. The Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act would address the growing mental health and addiction crisis in the U.S. by helping people connect with the services and care they need to manage mental health and substance use disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation would also direct the Department of Health and Human Services to gather data to better understand the effects of the pandemic on mental health and addiction and make recommendations on how to improve future mental health and addiction response efforts.