Thousands of advocates mobilize for the National Council’s Hill Day at Home, urging lawmakers to address the mental health and substance use crises and bolster the behavioral health workforce
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 18, 2023) — The mental health and substance use care community, along with thousands of advocates across the country, today called on policymakers to swiftly pass legislation to expand access to comprehensive mental health and substance use treatment and care.
The National Council for Mental Wellbeing, along with 19 other leading mental health and substance use care organizations, brought together experts and leaders from across the spectrum of behavioral health care to speak on the urgent need for Congress to support and expand the workforce, establish Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) in federal law, and invest further in substance use care and crisis care — including the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
“Despite the great progress we made last year toward expanding access to mental health and substance use care, there are still millions of people who aren’t receiving the care they need,” said Chuck Ingoglia, the National Council’s President and CEO. “Our country’s youth mental health crisis has grown significantly worse, while mental health and substance use care organizations continue to grapple with a devastating workforce shortage.”
“Together, these issues impact nearly every person in the country — we urge lawmakers to come together and prioritize bipartisan solutions,” said Reyna Taylor, the National Council’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy. “It’s time to codify the CCBHC model into law, make more significant strides to recruit and retain the workforce, make it easier for those most at risk of overdose to receive substance use care and invest more in our nation’s crisis care infrastructure. Doing so will help ensure more people can access high-quality care in their communities, when and where they need it.”
This year’s Hill Day at Home centered around four themes — each of which featured multiple bills. The supported legislation includes:
- Supporting Recovery for Substance Use Disorders: Support for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4531), the Due Process Continuity of Care Act (H.R.3074/S.971) and the Reentry Act (H.R. 2400/S.1165)
- 988 and the Crisis Care Continuum: 9-8-8 Implementation Act of 2023 (H.R. 4851) and the Local 9-8-8 Response Act of 2023 (H.R. 4974)
- Addressing the Workforce Crisis – Recruit, Retain, Reimburse: Improving Access to Mental Health Act (H.R.1638/S.838) and the Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act (H.R. 4993/S.462)
- Exploring the Future of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics: Ensuring Excellence in Mental Health Act (S.2993)
The National Council was honored to award Zoe Frantz its annual Individual Achievement in Advocacy Award. As President and CEO of the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers, Inc., Frantz exemplifies the type of tireless work needed to keep these issues top of mind for policymakers. Through her work this past year with state legislators, Indiana’s U.S. Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun, and the Biden-Harris administration, Frantz’s efforts have made an immense difference in expanding access to comprehensive mental health and substance use care in Indiana and across the country.
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.