Advocates at National Council’s 15th Annual Hill Day Urge Congress to Boost Funding for Addiction and Mental Health Services



Sophia Majlessi

202-621-1631 (office)

Unite for Behavioral Health Campaign Launched at Hill Day; New Public Opinion Research Shows Broad Bipartisan Support for Increased Federal Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 17, 2019) – More than 600 addiction and mental health providers, consumers, family members, and care partners  from around the country will join together as advocates to urge Congress to increase mental health and addiction treatment funding, bolstered by new research that shows broad support among voters for those programs. During the National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s 15th annual Hill Day event, the nation’s largest behavioral health advocacy event, advocates will ask legislators to:

  • Ensure access to high-quality, community-based treatment through support and expansion of the landmark Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) program, which provides critical mental health and addiction services to people in 21 states;
  • Increase FY 2020 funding for mental health and substance use programs to help community-based providers meet the growing demand for services;
  • Co-sponsor the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act (S. 2074/H.R. 2482), which will increase access to buprenorphine treatment within our communities;
  • Pass the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 286/H.R. 945), allowing marriage and family therapists and licensed mental health counselors to bill Medicare for their services thereby increasing access to care; and
  • Co-sponsor the Medicaid Reentry Act (H.R. 1329), which reinstates Medicaid eligibility for incarcerated individuals up to 30 days prior to release.

“In the last year, we made major strides to ensure people with mental illness and/or addictions get effective care when and where they need it as a direct result of advocacy from past Hill Days,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. “We are thrilled at the turnout of Hill Day advocates this year and look forward to working with members of Congress to continue to improve access to mental health and addiction treatment for all who need it.”

The National Council will also unveil a new policy initiative, Unite for Behavioral Health, which is focused on five essential objectives that represent the greatest opportunity to improve the health and well-being of the entire nation:

  • Expand Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) to all 50 states;
  • Build treatment infrastructures to respond to the addiction crisis;
  • Strengthen workforce development;
  • Fully implement the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act; and
  • Expand the Mental Health First Aid program.

New research from Morning Consult released today shows a bipartisan majority of American voters think federal government is not doing enough to address mental health (85 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Republicans) and addiction (79 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Republicans). In addition, a majority of voters – regardless of party affiliation – say they are more likely to support a candidate in 2020 who promises to address mental health and addiction. Click here for full polling results.

“For too long, this country has underfunded and undervalued mental health and substance use care with devastating results,” said Ingoglia. “Americans want policymakers to stand up for mental health and addiction treatment. The mandate is clear: members of Congress from both sides of the aisle should move quickly to turn this bipartisan consensus into meaningful policy changes.”

Hill Day 2019 partner organizations include: Addiction Policy Forum, American Art Therapy Association, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, American Association of Suicidology, American Counseling Association, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Clubhouse International, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Faces & Voices of Recovery, Family Focused Treatment Association, FREDLA, International Bipolar Foundation, International OCD Foundation, The Kennedy Forum, Legal Action Center, Mental Health America, NAADAC, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association of Social Workers, National Board for Certified Counselors, Network for Social Work Management, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, Shatterproof, Trinity Health and Youth Move National.

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 3,400 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.