House passes mental health package, 20 Republicans vote ‘no’

The House on Wednesday passed a bipartisan package that aims to tackle mental health and addiction in the United States

The legislationtitled Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, passed by a vote of 402 to 20. Six Republicans and one Democrat did not vote.

The 20 “no” votes came from Republicans: Representatives Andy Biggs (Arizona), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Mo Brooks (Alabama), Ken Buck (Colo.), Tim Burchett (Tenn.), Michael Cloud (Texas) , Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Bob Good (Va.), Paul Gosar (Arizona), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Michael Guest (Miss), Clay Higgins (La. ), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Tom McClintock (California), Mary Miller (Illinois), Ralph Norman (SC), Chip Roy (Texas), Greg Steube (Florida) and Van Taylor (Texas).

The package calls for the creation of a behavioral health crisis coordination office within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which would be tasked with strengthening access to crisis care. The office would receive $5 million per year starting in fiscal year 2023 through fiscal year 2027.

It also reauthorizes millions of dollars in grants to states, territories, tribes and tribal organizations for community mental health services for adults with serious mental illnesses and children living with severe emotional disorders. Up to 5% of this funding can be dedicated to early intervention activities.

Additionally, the legislation reauthorizes a number of programs that address mental health and calls for promoting the availability of high-quality housing and services dedicated to the recovery of people with substance use disorders.

And it compels the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to lead or support research that examines the effect of smartphone and social media use on adolescent health and development.

Mental health problems have increased worldwide. The prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25% worldwide in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a scientific memory published by the World Health Organization in March.

The Biden administration voiced support for the package on Tuesday. In an administrative policy statement, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said the legislation “will provide critical investments to strengthen our mental health and addictions care system.”

“The Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2022 will help build a more robust behavioral health crisis system in the United States by investing in crisis response and addressing the needs in mental health and addictions issues in communities,” added the OMB.

In a statement after the package passed, Rep. Frank Pallone (DN.J.), a sponsor of the legislation, noted the high levels of anxiety and depression.

“This bill is needed now more than ever. Americans are reporting increased anxiety and depression and increased use of opioids and other substances,” Pallone said.

“The Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Wellness Act will help restore hope to millions of Americans. The legislation strengthens and expands more than 30 essential programs that collectively support mental health care and recovery. substance use disorder prevention, care, treatment and recovery support services in communities across the country,” he added.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), another package sponsor, praised her package.

“I am grateful to all of my colleagues who offered many solutions in this bill and to the strong bipartisan work that led to today’s passage in the People’s House,” she wrote in a statement. statement.

“Our goal is to continue to build on this for stronger families, stronger communities and a better future for all,” she added.

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