Washington, D.C. (February 7, 2023) — National Council for Mental Wellbeing President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia today issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s State of the Union address.
“Our nation made incredible progress last year to address the crisis surrounding mental health and substance use challenges.
“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act provides significant investments in new resources to help eliminate barriers to access. The year-end legislative package supplements those efforts and provide even more resources for communities and the organizations that provide mental health and substance use treatment.
“But we aren’t done yet, and President Biden tonight acknowledged the many hurdles that remain in efforts to address the mental health crisis and the overdose epidemic. We agree that we must connect more Americans to care and strengthen system capacity. We agree that we must expand access to evidence-based prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery.
“Despite the investments Congress made in 2022, there is a lot of work to be done to resolve the workforce shortage, expand access to critical services in Medicare and Medicaid, expand telehealth provisions, fund Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs), ensure parity enforcement and remove barriers to care for those with a substance use challenge. All those issues must be addressed to improve mental health and substance use treatment.
“Mental health and substance use treatment programs suffered years of starvation, and we need to rebuild our nation’s capacity to help those in need of care, especially our youth as they face a future with higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance use and suicide. So, we will work with Congress, its committees of jurisdiction and the Biden Administration to build on the significant progress we saw in 2022.
“Mental wellbeing, including recovery from substance use challenges, is not a reality for everyone. But it can be. And it is up to us to continue the work we started through a bipartisan approach and meet challenges ahead.”
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 3,100 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 2.6 million people in the U.S. to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.