As we approach the one year anniversary of Sandy Hook, Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, calls attention to the need for expanding access to mental health services America:
One in 5 Americans are, right now, living with a mental illness. Nearly half of them go without care, either because they can't afford it or, more often, because they don't know where to go or what to do. We must change that...
One year later, Congress is still debating two pieces of bi-partisan legislation that would go a long way toward ensuring more people get the mental health treatment they need.
The Excellence in Mental Health Act would improve the quality of mental health care and expand access to mental health treatment for hundreds of thousands of people served by community mental health centers.
The Mental Health First Aid Act would expand access to public education programs designed to help the teachers, first responders and others identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. People are hungry for these programs. Since 2008, nearly 150,000 people have been trained in Mental Health First Aid – 40 percent of them in just the last year, since the Sandy Hook tragedy.