October 09, 2020

Cárdenas, Fitzpatrick, Kennedy Introduce Resolution Recognizing World Mental Health Day

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), and Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04) introduced a resolution recognizing World Mental Health Day. The resolution highlights the prevalence of mental health disorders globally and honors mental health and social services workers. 

“This year’s World Mental Health Day comes as families in America and across the world are adjusting to this new COVID reality,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “We know that the pandemic has taken a significant emotional toll on people. We cannot ignore the very real mental health challenges that this has had on our children, our frontline heroes, and our communities. As we continue to follow the coronavirus safety guidance of medical experts, let us not neglect our mental health. There is no health without mental health. That’s why it is critical that the Senate passes the Heroes Act – legislation that includes funding for mental health services. I urge the President and Republican leadership to come back to the negotiating table and get this done for the American people.” 

This year has been tough for everyone, for so many reasons. I am proud to introduce this resolution to recognize October 10th as World Mental Health Day,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “Please take the time to reach out to your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to make sure they are doing well. Remember that it is ok to not be ok. Together we can end the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage everyone to get the help they might need.” 

“In this moment, an already broken mental health system is crumbling under the weight of a global health pandemic across our country and around the world," said Congressman Kennedy. "As people seek help, treatment and care, we must be ready and willing to build a behavioral health care system to meet that immense need. With this resolution, we can show the world that we understand the urgency of this crisis and the action it demands.”

 “The American Psychological Association applauds Congressmen Cardenas, Fitzpatrick, and Kennedy for introducing a resolution recognizing October 10, 2020, as World Mental Health Day,” said APA CEO Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD. “Globally, we are all affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on our health and mental health. Now more than ever, we must come together to elevate mental health as integral to overall health, by advancing research, providing greater investments, and ensuring that effective services and supports are available equitably and universally.” 

Nearly one in five American adults live with a diagnosable mental health disorder, but only 43 percent of these individuals receive treatment in a given year. According to a KFF Tracking Poll conducted in mid-July, 53% of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus. This is significantly higher than the 32% reporting earlier this year. Among Latinos and African Americans, reported mental health issues spiked in the summer as a result of COVID-related stress compounded by the death of George Floyd.  

More than 2,000 people die from suicide each day globally. Additionally, mental health disorders are the leading causes of disability globally. While the prevalence rates of most mental health disorders are similar across racial and ethnic groups, there are large inequities in diagnosis and treatment. Limited access to high-quality, culturally and linguistically responsive services, discrimination, diverse provider shortages, and cultural stigma surrounding mental healthcare all contribute to persistent inequities in behavioral health treatment.  

The text of the bill is available here.

Last month, Congressman Cárdenas introduced the Strengthening Mental Health Supports for BIPOC Communities Act, legislation to improve access to health services for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. 

In July, Congressman Cárdenas introduced the Strengthening Behavioral Health Supports for Schools Act. This bipartisan bill would authorize annual funding of $25 million for the Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), through Fiscal Year 2025, to operate a technical assistance and training center to provide schools and school systems with mental health and substance use disorder support and services for students during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Cárdenas also introduced the Crisis Counseling Act, which would automatically approve requests by any state, territory, and tribe for a Crisis Counseling and Training Program (CCP) after it had been granted a Stafford Act declaration. The legislation would remove bureaucratic hurdles that delayed critical support for communities as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the United States.  

Congressman Cárdenas sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee.