FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – The U.S. Senate Health Committee on Wednesday passed legislation sponsored by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) to address the country’s mental health crisis and ensure Americans suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders receive the care they need.
The committee also passed additional legislation to help tackle the opioid epidemic by addressing prevention and treatment efforts to fight opioid addiction and abuse.
“I’ve worked so hard to fix our broken mental health care system because I’ve seen how devastating it is when we allow those with mental illness to fall through the cracks," said Murphy. "Through more than a dozen roundtables and town halls in Connecticut, I’ve heard hundreds of heartbreaking stories from families struggling to get a loved one the help they need. We all have heard these stories -- each of them unique, but somehow exactly the same.
"I have been lucky to have Senator (Bill) Cassidy as a partner in this effort from day one, and I’m grateful that Senators (Lamar) Alexander and (Patty) Murray have made this a priority in the committee. Today’s passage of a comprehensive bill through the health committee is a strong signal of the broad bipartisan support for reform, but I won’t rest until we get a meaningful bill signed into law with real resources behind it.”
The Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 reflects feedback from states, patient groups, advocacy groups, state associations, hospitals, insurers, providers and doctor’s groups who reviewed a discussion draft of the legislation released March 7.
The bill also includes the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act, which already passed the health committee, to continue and improve programs that help states and local communities prevent suicide, help children recover from traumatic events, provide mental health awareness for teachers and others and assess barriers to integrating behavioral health and primary care.
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