On July 1, Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL) [pictured above] and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced legislation that would direct states to administer funding toward crisis care services. The Crisis Care Enhancement Act (PDF, 138KB) (H.R.4305) is a response to the ongoing substance use and suicide epidemics that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which stressed the capacity of crisis care services in the United States. The legislation would improve the availability and capacity of crisis call centers, mobile crisis services, and crisis stabilization programs across the country by requiring states to use a larger portion of funds from the federal Mental Health Block Grant towards these services. Specifically, the bill requires states to set aside 10% of these funds once funding for the overall block grant reaches a certain threshold. APA also supported the original 5% set-aside for crisis services last year.
In addition, APA supports increased funding for crisis care services. CEO Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, said of the legislation: “The effectiveness of a mental health system depends on access to a complete range of mental health and substance use disorder services. Without access to crisis services, patients often find themselves languishing in emergency rooms or in other inappropriate settings. The increased set-aside funding for these services provided under this bill will, in addition to improving outcomes for people, increase the efficiency of states’ mental health care systems and help enable national initiatives around mental health—such as the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline—to reach their full potential.”
For more information, contact Andrew Strickland.