Acting Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Norris Cochran recently sent a letter to the nation’s governors outlining the Biden-Harris administration’s intent to extend the ongoing COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) through the end of 2021. The move signals the new administration’s commitment to the ongoing pandemic response and specifies that whenever a decision is made either to terminate the declaration or let it expire, states will be given 60 days’ notice prior to termination.
“The announcement of a likely PHE extension through the end of 2021 provides much needed stability,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated communities nationwide. Stress, anxiety and suicidal ideation continue to increase, and we are coping with a massive mental health and overdose crisis. People with mental illness and substance use disorders have suffered disproportionately throughout the pandemic, and the demand for treatment and services remains historically high. Extension of the PHE designation will ensure states can continue providing vulnerable populations with life-saving care at a time when they need it most. We thank the Biden-Harris administration for providing greater certainty regarding the PHE, and we look forward to working with the administration as we continue to address our nation’s mental health crisis.”
The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 3,326 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 2.5 million Americans have been trained.