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Alexandria, VA – Mental Health America issued the following statement today in response to Tuesday’s State of the Union Address and the release of an accompanying White House fact sheet detailing progress on President Biden’s Unity Agenda and his strategy to address our national mental health and substance use crisis:

“Mental Health America applauds President Biden for highlighting mental health and substance use in last night’s State of the Union and for issuing an accompanying fact sheet detailing upcoming guidance, regulations, and programs that will significantly expand access to quality care. We are grateful for the bipartisan commitment to advancing these priorities as evidenced by the legislation that has been passed by Congress and implemented by the Administration. We look forward to continued progress across the government on these enduring mental health and addiction crises.

“The President highlights several ongoing priorities of Mental Health America and its affiliate network in his remarks and the fact sheet, including:

  • Continuing to promote youth mental health, including increasing access to school mental health services and taking a more proactive approach to address social media harms.
  • Reducing Veteran’s suicide and expanding access to peer support services for veterans.
  • Expanding access to effective treatment for substance use and making it easier to prescribe medications for substance use as part of routine health care. Implementing legislation that removed the X-waiver to make it easier to access life-saving medications for substance use conditions.
  • Expanding affordable health coverage and treatments to allow people to get needed care.
  • Addressing social determinants, such as child poverty, and calling for police reform and racial justice.
  • Holding insurers accountable for providing access to behavioral health care and releasing a parity rule this spring.
  • Allowing states to use Medicaid to fund health services, including mental health and substance use care, prior to a person’s discharge from a jail and prison to advance equitable access to care.
  • Advance equity by diversifying the behavioral health workforce and expanding access to mobile crisis intervention and 988 hotline services to ensure a mental health, and not a law enforcement, response to crisis.

“As the Administration continues to implement the Unity Agenda, we are excited about the upcoming guidance, rules and programs and look forward to working with the Administration on this agenda.”