Cárdenas Secures 988 Implementation Act Wins in House-passed Mental Health Package
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last night, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 7666, the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, which includes several provisions of Congressman Tony Cárdenas’ (CA-29) 988 Implementation Act and Parity Implementation Assistance Act. The legislative package reauthorizes key Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) programs to address the national mental health and substance use disorder crises.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the way mental health crises are treated in America,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “When people start calling 988 in just a few short weeks, they must be connected to the proper assistance they need, with the urgency and support they deserve. As I’ve said repeatedly, there must be someone to call, someone to come and somewhere to go. I’m glad the Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act includes provisions from my legislation, including support for crisis response teams. However, Congress must do more to ensure all states are best equipped to respond to a person in crisis. That’s why I will continue to fight to get the entirety of my 988 Implementation Act and Parity Implementation Assistance Act across the finish line.”
America is experiencing a growing mental health crisis. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34. More than 100,000 Americans have died from overdoses in the last 12 months.
Right now, Americans are forced to rely on police for assistance during a mental health or substance use crisis. Most police officers are not trained to effectively respond to mental health emergencies, and relying on them to be the first emergency response unit during a mental health emergency increases the chances of violence. In fact, a police encounter with a civilian is 16 times more likely to result in that person’s death if they have an untreated mental illness.
For 988 to be truly effective, crisis services must operate in a linked fashion. There must be someone to call, someone to come and somewhere to go if needed. To prepare for the July launch of 988, Congressman Cárdenas introduced the bipartisan 988 Implementation Act earlier this year.
Provisions from the Congressman’s 988 Implementation Act and Parity Implementation Assistance Act included in the bills passed by the House today (H.R. 7666 - Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022) include:
- Crisis Care Services and 9-8-8 Implementation (Subtitle A, Section 101–102)
Establishes the Behavioral Health Crisis Coordinating Office within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to convene partners and provide technical assistance to enhance access to crisis care, authorized at $5 million annually for fiscal year (FY) 2023 through FY 2027. Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to publish best practices for a crisis response continuum of care not later than one year after the date of enactment for use by health care providers, crisis services administrators, and crisis services providers.
- REACHING Improved Mental Health Outcomes for Patients (Subtitle C, Section 121–123)
Establishes the Mental Health Crisis Response Partnership Pilot Program by replacing the reauthorization of the Community Crisis Response Systems Grants, authorizing $10 million annually for FY 2023 through FY 2027.
- Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Reauthorization Act (Subtitle E, Section 141)
Reauthorizes the Community Mental Health Services Block Grants for states, territories, Tribes, and Tribal organizations to support community mental health services for adults with serious mental illness and children with serious emotional disturbance and to support the collection of performance and outcome data. Requires that five percent of the funds granted be used for crisis-care services and allows for up to five percent of funds for early intervention activities. Authorizes $857.571 million annually for FY 2023 through FY 2027.
- Helping Enable Access to Lifesaving Services (Subtitle B, Section 311)
Updates the Minority Fellowship Program to include those “in the fields of crisis care management.”
For a section by section of the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, click here.