Beyond resistance: Improving mental health care

August 2, 2017

Dear Friends,

It is the fifth day of my email series, “Beyond Resistance: The things we should do to make us safer, healthier, and more economically secure.” Today’s topic: the need to advance compassionate solutions to treat mental illness and promote healing.

We see more and more evidence that individuals in our community aren’t receiving critical, necessary mental health services. Emergency rooms and jails, sadly, are becoming primary sites of care for individuals in the midst of a mental health crisis. We must find better, more compassionate ways to help our most vulnerable who suffer from severe and persistent mental illness.

I was proud to help pass the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act last year. This legislation was a starting place for expanding federal resources and removing barriers towards mental health treatment. But more must be done. We need to invest in prevention, funding treatment, and building tools to provide care and healing for individuals with mental illness.

Mental health treatment can be difficult to find. Oftentimes patients who seek help are placed on waiting lists or turned away for a lack of space or providers. There simply aren’t enough providers or mental health facilities. To address this, I support the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Accessibility Act, which would provide more funding and better loans to create new mental health and substance abuse treatment clinics. I also support the Medicare Mental Health Access Act, which would expand the types of mental health providers who can treat Medicare beneficiaries. Finally, I’m a strong advocate for the Medicaid Bump Act of 2017, which would increase funding for state Medicaid programs in order to provide more mental and behavioral health services. Together, these bills will help increase the number of clinics, providers, and incentives for states to provide services.

I will continue to fight in Congress for better resources for mental health systems. These are issues that affect us all in our communities – it’s far past time that we stop ignoring them and find solutions that promote healing.

I welcome your thoughts, ideas, and opinions. You can connect with me here


Earl Blumenauer

Member of Congress