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Mollie Laird

Associate, Federal Policy

988 Report to Congress, Upcoming Senate Hearing on Youth Mental Health

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BREAKING NEWS

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two rulings on the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandates for the workforce. The Court upheld the rule from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that requires healthcare workers to be vaccinated if their employer receives Medicare or Medicaid funding. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which mandated private sector employers with over 100 employees require vaccinations or regular testing, was blocked by the Court, concluding that OSHA did not have regulatory authority to implement the vaccine-or-testing ETS under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

 

Main Stories:

  • 988 Appropriations Report and New FAQ from AFSP & Vibrant
  • Senate Finance Committee Hearing on Youth Mental Health This Month
  • Report Analyzing Suicide Data in Adults Published
  • FCC launches Affordable Connectivity Program
  • NatCon22 Update and Resources

 

988 Appropriations Report and New FAQ from AFSP & Vibrant

As directed by Congress, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently published its 988 Appropriations Report. The report includes updated data and covers specific assessments of costs, additional services, and training. SAMSHA’s primary areas of focus in preparing to implement 988 are “enhancing Lifeline network operations, strengthening local crisis call center capacity, improving messaging and public awareness, and expanding federal support through the formation of a 988 & Behavioral Health Crisis Coordination Office.” Also included in the report is an explanation of funding needs and expected future costs of operation. Additionally, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), in partnership with Vibrant (the administrator of 988), released a new Frequently Asked Questions document on 988 and Crisis Response Services to help answer common questions from policymakers.

 

Senate Finance to Hold a Hearing on Youth Mental Health

The Senate Committee on Finance announced a hearing, to be held this month, on youth mental health and has invited the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, to attend. The Surgeon General issued an advisory in December on Protecting Youth Mental Health. The Advisory describes a decade-long increase of mental health challenges for youth and highlights the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of children, adolescents, and young adults. Further, the Surgeon General issued recommendations to improve the mental health of youth through a “whole-of-society effort,” including actions and tools to recognize mental health challenges, educate, empower and promote access to high-quality mental healthcare. A date has not been set for the hearing.

 

Report Analyzing Suicide Data in Adults Published

A report released last week analyzed data from 2015-2019 on suicidal thoughts and behaviors amongst adults ages 18 and older. The report estimated that a devastating average of 10.6 million adults per year in the United States reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year, a striking 4.3% of the population, suicide being the 10th leading cause of death among adults 18 years old and older in 2019. The report summarizes data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. To read more, click here.

 

FCC Launches Affordable Connectivity Program

The Federal Communications Commission announced that the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which helped almost 9 million households afford internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic, recently transitioned to the new Affordable Connectivity Program. Under the new Affordable Connectivity Program, households can receive up to a $30 per month discount on internet services. Eligible households include participants in programs such as Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SNAP, SSI, WIC, and more. To get more information on eligibility, how to apply, and finding participating internet service providers, visit fcc.gov/acp.

 

NatCon22 Update and Resources

As we celebrate the return of in-person learning at NatCon22 from April 11-13 in the Washington, D.C., metro area, we are focused on keeping you safe. That’s why we’re putting strict, CDC-aligned plans in place that will be regularly updated as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Read our FAQ to learn more and check back often. Don’t forget to register by Monday, February 14, to save $100! Questions? Contact us.

 

ADVOCACY CORNER

Tips for Congressional Advocacy. When emailing your legislator, customization is key! Legislators get a lot of emails, and you can cut through the noise by adding your personal story or data relevant to the district/state. Keeping emails brief and customized is the best way to have your message read. Remember to join the Congressional Management Foundation on January 18 at 3:00 PM EST to learn tips on what you should do before you advocate to policymakers. For more information and to register, click here.

 

HAPPENING ON THE HILL

HRSA Adds Suicide Screening to Bright Futures Guidelines. Under the Affordable Care Act, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) releases annual guidelines for preventive care and screening of women and infants, children, and adolescents. Last month, HRSA updated guidelines to the Bright Futures Program, a unified guidance program that is age-specific, evidence-based, and primary and preventative care-focused. Notably, the additions include universal screening for suicide risk to the Depression screening category for individuals from ages 12 to 21 and new guidance for behavioral, social, and emotional screening.