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Action Alert - Contact Congress Today!

Nov. 30, 2016

The federal Mental Health Reform legislation has been added to a bill - the 21st Century Cures Act - that Congress will likely vote on this week. It includes a number of provisions reauthorizing current language and appropriations for a variety of programs that we support including youth suicide prevention, teacher training, jail diversion, integration and more. The full text of the bill can be found here.

Please call or email your congressperson as soon as possible and say, "I am a NAMI member and I urge you to support the mental health provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act!" While the bill doesn't have everything we wanted, it is a step in the right direction and these opportunities don't come up often. Thanks everyone for your advocacy - know that your call or email DOES make a difference!

Some of the major provisions include:

- Requires SAMHSA  (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to develop a strategic plan every four years that identifies priorities, including a strategy for improving the recruitment, training, and retention of the mental health workforce. The plan will:
  * Include a strategy to disseminate evidence-based best practices for prevention, diagnosis, early intervention, treatment, and recovery focusing on those with SMI, SED, and Substance Use Disorder (SUD).
  * Identify ways to improve program quality;
  * Ensure programs are providing access to effective and evidence-based prevention, diagnosis, intervention, treatment, and recovery services;
  * Identify ways to address workforce issues; and,
  * Include a strategy to disseminate evidence-based best practices for prevention, diagnosis, early intervention, treatment, and recovery focusing on those with SMI, SED, and Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

- Authorizes the Secretary to award grants to state and local governments, Indian tribes, and tribal organizations to strengthen community-based crisis response systems or to develop, maintain, or enhance a database of beds at inpatient psychiatric facilities, crisis stabilization units, and residential community mental health and residential substance use disorder treatment facilities.

- Establishes suicide prevention and intervention programs grants for individuals aged 25 years or older. The grants are to raise awareness of suicide, establish referral processes, and improve care and outcomes for such individuals who are at risk of suicide. Authorizes the appropriation of $30 million.

- Requires the Secretary to disseminate information and provide technical assistance on evidence-based practices for mental health and substance use disorders in older adults.

- Increases and extends an existing authorization for a grant program for Assisted Outpatient Treatment at SAMHSA. Reauthorizes appropriations of $15 million in fiscal year 2017, $20 million for fiscal year 2018, $19 million for each of fiscal years 2019 and 2020, and $18 million for each of fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

- Establishes a grant program to establish, maintain, or expand assertive community treatment programs for adults with SMI.

- Authorizes the Secretary to establish a training demonstration program within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to award five-year minimum grants for: o Medical residents and fellows to practice psychiatry and addiction medicine in underserved, community-based settings; o Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, health service psychologists, and social workers to provide mental and substance use disorder services in underserved community-based settings; and o Establishing, maintaining, or improving academic programs that provide training to improve the ability to recognize, diagnose, and treat mental and substance use disorders.

- Provides federal leadership by establishing an interagency working group to discuss mental and behavioral health on college campuses and to promote federal agency collaboration to support innovations in mental health services and supports for students on college and university campuses.

- Establishes a grant program for states to establish, improve, or maintain programs for screening assessment and treatment services for women who are pregnant, or who have given birth within the preceding 12 months, for maternal depression.

- Establishes a grant program to develop, maintain, or enhance mental health prevention, intervention, and treatment programs for infants and children at significant risk of developing or showing early signs of mental disorders, including SED, or social or emotional disability.

- Includes several studies and reports to increase enforcement of mental health parity.

- Includes information, awareness and education on eating disorders.

- Amends the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program to allow law enforcement to use funds for the creation of mental health response and corrections programs, including police crisis intervention teams.  Also allows state and local governments to use Byrne JAG funds in order to comply with current laws requiring the upload of certain mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Amends the Community Oriented Policing Services Grant Program (COPS) to allow law enforcement to use funds for specialized mental health response training, including crisis de-escalation. Amends the Fire Prevention and Control Act to allow existing grant funds to be used for training first responders and paramedics on best practices for responding to mental health emergencies, including crisis de-escalation. And adds much more on diverting people out of the criminal justice system. 

 
U.S. Representatives U.S. Senators
First District
Timothy J. Walz
1034 Longworth House Office Building 
Washington, DC 20515 
(202) 225-2472 
Contact: 
Tim Walz contact form
United States Senate
309 Hart Senate Office Building 
Washington, DC 20510 
(202) 224-5641 
Contact Senator Franken 
Second District
John Kline
2439 Rayburn House Office Building 
Washington, DC 20515 
(202) 225-2271 
Contact form: 
John Kline contact form
Senator Amy Klobuchar
United States Senate 
302 Hart Senate Office Building 
Washington, DC 20510 
(202) 224-3244 
Amy Klobuchar contact form
Third District
Erik Paulsen
127 Cannon House Office Building 
Washington, DC 20515-2303 
(202) 225-2871 
Fax: (202) 225-6351 
Erik Paulson contact form
Fourth District
Betty McCollum
1714 Longworth House Office Building 
Washington, DC 20515 
(202) 225-6631 
Betty McCollum contact form
Fifth District
Keith Ellison
2244 Rayburn Building 
Washington, DC 20515 
(202) 225-4755 
(202) 225-4886 fax 
Contact form: 
Keith Ellison contact page
Sixth District
Tom Emmer
503 Cannon House Office Building 
Washington, DC 20515 
(202) 225-2331 
Tom Emmer email form
Seventh District
Collin C. Peterson
2109 Rayburn House Office Building 
Washington, DC 20515 
(202) 225-2165 
Collin C. Peterson email form
Eighth District
Rick Nolan
2447 Rayburn House Office Building 
Washington, DC 20515 
(202) 225-6211 
Contact email form
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