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Mental Health America 2024 Priorities

Learn more about our mental health policy priorities for the 2023-24 year. 

Promote the importance of lived experience

MHA works to ensure that the voices of lived experience, especially those of young people, are leading policy development and implementation. MHA also advocates for quality measurement systems to incorporate positive patient experience as an outcome measure. MHA is a leader in expanding coverage and increasing reimbursement of peer support services across payers and ensuring warmlines are widely available.

Advance prevention and early intervention

MHA focuses on prevention and early intervention, working to ensure that funding is allocated upstream. MHA advocates for a public health approach to mental health. MHA is a leader in promoting universal approaches to screening and mental health literacy education. We also recognize the importance of social drivers of mental health and substance use. We advocate for screening, collecting data, researching effective interventions, and addressing the social drivers. MHA promotes positive environments and advocates for improved school climates and accountability for social media platforms to address toxic digital environments that cause mental health and substance use harms.

  • S. 3663 Kids Online Safety Act (Sen. Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Blackburn (R-TN) and 47 Senate co-sponsors).
  • Working to get bill introduced to create prevention and early intervention set-aside in mental health block grant.
  • S.3060 Youth Mental Health Research Act Klobuchar/Britt bill $100 Million for funding youth mental health at NIH
  • Appropriations for mental health block grant, Behavioral Health Coordinating Center at CDC and CDC programs for schools.
  • The EARLY Minds Act would allow states to use up to 5% of their Community Mental Health Block Grant (MHBG) funds for prevention and early intervention services with children and adults. The bill will also require a report from SAMHSA on which states take up this option and how they use these funds, including the age and demographics of those served and whether it improved outcomes, such as reducing delays in access to care.

Increase access to mental health and substance use care and supports

Because insurance coverage is critical to accessing mental health and substance use services, MHA advocates for expansive coverage policies, especially during this time of Medicaid unwinding in the states. MHA continues its longstanding commitment to achieving parity in coverage of mental health and substance use services and to improving the accuracy of provider directories and the adequacy of networks across payers. MHA recognizes the importance of innovation and advocates for access to telehealth and for a regulatory payment structure to encourage effective digital technology. MHA fights to remove barriers to accessing effective treatment for the person with mental health or substance use conditions, recognizing that treatment must be tailored to the person’s needs, not the payers’ restrictions. We recognize the importance of developing a well-trained workforce, especially providers who can effectively support children and young people. We promote deflection from law enforcement responses to crisis and non-coercive, non-carceral care that is person-centered, such as peer respites and mobile crisis teams.

Ensure equity and reduce disparities

MHA advocates for integrated mental health and substance care in schools and primary care, which reduce disparities in access to care. MHA also supports expanding access to a diverse workforce and to providers that are more likely to reflect their communities and address disparities and social drivers, such as doulas, peer support specialists, and community health workers. MHA also advocates for the workforce to be trained in cultural humility. MHA fights to reduce disparities in access to care, data collection, social drivers, and research. MHA collaborates with others to address disparities in maternal, perinatal, and early children outcomes with respect to other agencies that serve people with mental health and substance use conditions, such as housing, child welfare, and juvenile justice.

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