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Mental Health Bills Before Your Representatives


This week, the U.S. House House Bill Graphicof Representatives happens to be considering several bills pertaining to mental health and which are aiming to improve mental health services, diagnosis, and care. NAMI Toledo has decided to provide a review of these bills and what they would do if made into law.  You may want to consider writing your Representative in the House (who would either be Rep. Marcy Kaptur  or Rep. Bob Latta ) to express your opinions about, and whether you support, any or all of these bills before the House.  


Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2021 – H.R. 721

This legislation, through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements, would provide school-based mental health services and supports to assist children (up to 21 years) in local communities and schools (including schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Education) dealing with traumatic experiences, grief, bereavement, risk of suicide, and violence. The bill would appropriate $130 million per year from 2022 through 2025. Grants would amount to no more than $2 million per organization.

Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Act of 2021 – H.R. 1205

This bill would create financial grant awards to qualifying health care providers that would be used to implement innovative approaches to securing prompt access to appropriate follow-on mental health care for individuals who experience an acute mental health episode and present for care in a hospital emergency room. The grants could be used in part to increase the supply of inpatient psychiatric beds and alternative care settings such as regional emergency psychiatric facilities. The grants could also be used to create alternative approaches to providing psychiatric care in the emergency room setting, including through tele-psychiatric support and other remote psychiatric consultation, implementation of peak period crisis clinics, or creation of psychiatric emergency service units. $15 million per year from 2022 through 2026 would be available for such grants if the bill became law.

STANDUP Act of 2021 – H.R. 586

Also titled the ‘‘Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention Act of 2021,” this bill would force state, local, and tribal educational agencies to establish and implement a school-based student suicide awareness and prevention training policy.  This policy would, among other requirements, provide training to students in grades 6 through 12, in coordination with school-based mental health service providers, regarding suicide education and awareness, including warning signs of self-harm or suicidal ideation.

Family Support Services for Addiction Act of 2021 – H.R. 433

This bill would establish a grant program for family community non-profit organizations that provide support for individuals struggling with substance use disorder and their families. Grants will be awarded to enable such organizations to develop, expand, and enhance family support services. $5 million is authorized for the grant program per year from 2022 through 2026.

Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act –  H.R. 1475

This bill is intended to address mental health issues for youth, particularly youth of color, and would award grants to organizations for the purpose of establishing health care teams that provide behavioral health care. In general, the bill would commission a study on and work to address mental health disparities among racial and ethnic minority groups. This bill would also develop and implement an outreach and education strategy to promote behavioral and mental health and reduce stigma associated with mental health conditions and substance abuse among racial and ethnic minority groups. This bill would allocate $20 million each year for 5 years toward the grants.

Suicide Prevention Act – H.R. 2955

This bill would provide grants to public health departments to increase surveillance of acts of self-harm, and to report that data to the Center for Disease Control. The bill would also award grants to hospital emergency rooms so that they can provide self-harm and suicide prevention services.

Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act of 2021

This bill would establish a program to improve the identification, assessment, and treatment of patients in hospital emergency departments who are at risk of suicide. The bill would award grants to up to 40 health care sites. The grant money would be used to train emergency department health care professionals to identify, assess, and treat patients who are at risk of suicide. The grant money could also be used to hire emergency department psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, counselors, therapists, or other licensed health care and behavioral health professionals specializing in the treatment of individuals at risk of suicide.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act of 2021

This bill would develop and implement a plan to ensure the provision of high-quality service through the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Click here for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. 

Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act of 2021 – H.R. 2877

This bill would facilitate the development of best practices to assist elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher education in establishing and using behavioral intervention teams.