WASHINGTON (WANE) – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) reintroduced bipartisan legislation directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to establish a Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Network.
For many people who live with mental illness and substance use disorders, the coronavirus pandemic has created new mental health and addiction.
“This pandemic has been hard on Americans. Now more than ever, we must prioritize mental health by dedicating resources like telehealth, support groups and outreach services so people can get the help that they need,” Senator Young said. “I introduced the Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act to provide mental health and addiction services and treatment to Hoosiers struggling at home.”
The Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act includes an emergency authorization of $100 million to initiate or expand programs offering mental health and substance use disorder services in response to the pandemic, the press release said. This includes: support groups, telephone helplines and websites, training programs, telehealth services and outreach services.
The grant money would go to eligible entities offering appropriate mental health and addiction services, including Indian tribes, qualified nonprofit organizations and health care providers, the press release said.
The Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act also directs the Department of Health and Human Services to gather data to better understand the effects of the pandemic on mental health and addiction as well as make recommendations on how to improve future mental health and addiction response efforts.
Companion legislation is led in the House of Representatives by Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and John Katko (R-N.Y.), the press release said.
The Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act has been endorsed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, American Counseling Association, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation; American Psychiatric Association; and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.