Mental Health Reform Passes Senate

Have you ever worked tireless on a project or goal and recall that moment when you received the notification that all of your persistent efforts paid off?  It is a great feeling!

As a mental health advocate, I have enjoyed advocating through public speaking and facilitating grass roots initiatives in my local communities to help bring awareness.  This past year I decided to extend my advocacy to public policy and it has been very rewarding.

So, yesterday, when I received the notification in my email from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) that the mental health reform legislation passed the Senate and the bill is headed to the President’s desk for his signature, once again I was able to reap that feeling of accomplishment.

Here is the official statement:

The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed the 21st Century Cures Act which contains provisions of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016, H.R. 2646. The U.S. Senate voted on December 7, 2016, to pass legislation which contains provisions of the Mental Health Reform Act, H.R. 2646 and S.2680. Now the legislation is headed to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

-John Madigan, Vice President of Public Policy at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization.

What does this mean?

This means that there will be more much needed resources to help fight to prevent suicide and the legislation includes $6.3 billion for new funding of medical research at National Institutes of Health. It will also allow funding for opioid addiction and treatment programs.

In addition, it will create a new position of Assistant Secretary for Mental Health, contribute to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Program, the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Reauthorization, Adult Suicide Prevention, Sense of Congress on prioritizing American Indians and Alaska Native youth within suicide prevention programs, Children’s Recovery from Trauma and Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Promotion, Intervention, and Treatment.

If you contributed any way to this accomplishment, thank you! If you have lost any one to suicide or have a loved one who has ever been affected by a mental illness, then this news should be encouraging to you.

Help us thank those legislators who helped us push this bill through by sending thank you notes to your local representatives.  Together, we can continue to make a difference!

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