December 23, 2022

Cárdenas 988 Implementation Act and Mental Health Priorities Included in Spending Bill Headed to the President’s Desk

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) voted to pass the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which includes several provisions from his 988 Implementation Act and Parity Implementation Assistance Act, as well as other key mental healthcare priorities. 

“Today, Congress took a monumental step forward in transforming the way mental health crises are treated in America,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “As I’ve said before, when people reach out to 988 for help, there must be someone to call, someone to come and somewhere to go. Now, Americans from every corner of our country will have increased and improved access to a continuum of mental health crisis care. I am so proud to have worked with my colleagues, advocates and organizations to secure this federal funding, but more importantly, I am proud that our work will save lives and bring hope to so many. This is just the beginning of our fight to building out the full potential of 988 and making sure all local and state governments are best equipped to respond to a person in crisis.”

Congressman Cárdenas has long been a leader and champion of increased federal funding for 988 implementation and a crisis continuum of care. Priorities from the Congressman passed in the Consolidated Appropriations Act include:

  • $1 billion for Mental Health Block Grants, including a required five percent set aside for crisis services, a provision included in the 988 Implementation Act. 
  • $502 million for behavioral health crisis services and the 988 Lifeline, a provision included in the 988 Implementation Act. This increase in funding will support and improve local crisis center capacity and infrastructure. 
    • $10 million will go to providing services for Spanish speakers seeking assistance through text and chat. 
    • $7 million will go to the Behavioral Health Crisis and 988 Coordinating Office, which has also been codified through this legislation. 
    • $29 million will be set aside for competitive funding for interactive voice response technology for vulnerable youth callers, chats and texts. 
  • $385 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, a provision included in the 988 Implementation Act and an initiative that has been championed by Congresswoman Doris Matsui. 
  • $20 million in Mental Health Crisis Response Grants, a provision included in the 988 Implementation Act. This increase in funding will go towards mobile crisis response services pilot programs
  • Language that requires the Department of Health and Human Services to outline best practices for a crisis response continuum of care, a provision included in the 988 Implementation Act.
  • $10 million for grants to enforce compliance with mental health parity laws, which is consistent with language in the Parity Implementation Assistance Act. 

A detailed summary of the Consolidated Appropriations Act is available here