06.21.16

Gardner Supports Mental Health Reform Act

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today cosponsored the Mental Health Reform Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA). The legislation strengthens federal mental health programs while also extending greater flexibility to states and local communities to enhance mental health services, supports expansion of innovative treatment options to improve mental health care, and increases access to behavioral health services. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly one in five American adults suffer from mental illness each year and Colorado has felt the impact of its reach. Colorado alone lost 1,058 people to suicide last year, the highest number in the state’s history.   

The Mental Health Reform Act requires the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop a strategy with measurable goals to report to Congress and also to encourage states to work together by allowing them to jointly apply for assistance with mental health and substance abuse block grants. The legislation also prioritizes mental health needs that are regionally significant and supports innovative treatment to improve mental health care by ensuring programs incorporate the latest evidence-based approaches to care in treatment plans. Additionally, the Mental Health Reform Act recognizes that support services for the homeless and underserved communities must be strengthened. 

“One fifth of American adults suffer from mental illness, and its impact extends far beyond those who are directly affected by it into our families and communities,” said Gardner. “The rise in the rate of suicide in Colorado is troubling, and signals that our mental health systems needs to be strengthened at the federal, state, and local levels. That means developing a federal strategy with measurable goals, encouraging the expansion of evidenced-based treatment, and providing states and localities with greater flexibility to treat mental illness. The Mental Health Reform Act is a positive step toward addressing the mental health crisis and finding solutions to help those who are suffering.”

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. 

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