Contact Your Members of Congress During the August Recess: Urge Them to Support Key Mental Health Legislation

 

Congress is scheduled to begin its traditional August recess on Friday, August 2.  Mental Health America urges you to schedule visits with your Members of Congress and/or contact them to support the Senate FY2014 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill (S.1284) and the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2013 (S. 689), among other legislative priorities.

Since our Capitol Hill Day in June, we have gained more than 60 new cosponsors for our legislative priorities.  We urge you to build on that momentum and contact your Members of Congress to champion the following:

FY2014 Appropriations Bill (S. 1284)

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the FY2104 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill (S.1284) in July and now heads to the Senate floor.  S.1284 reflects the Senate’s  ongoing commitment to investing in the vast array of federal agencies that comprise HHS, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as supporting efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act.  The funding bill includes a roughly $107 million increase for the Center for Mental Health Services at SAMHSA.

The bill would provide $95 million for the Administration’s “Now Is the Time” proposal—roughly $55 million for “upstream services” and $40 million for behavioral health workforce—and a $12 million increase for suicide prevention, and would fund NIH, including the National Institutes of Mental Health, Drug Abuse, and Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, at FY2012 levels (which does not include the FY13 sequester).

In addition, S. 1284 would protect critical consumer and children services programs at SAMHSA, while also providing increases for the Mental Health Block Grant and integration and trauma initiatives.  Urge your Members of Congress to support the mental health funding levels of S.1284 in any future funding package or continuing resolution.

The Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2013 (S. 689)

The Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2013 (S. 689), drafted by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), makes targeted improvements designed to advance federal efforts to assist states and local communities in addressing mental health needs (“upstream services”).  The bill passed by a vote of 95-2 in April as an amendment to a legislative vehicle that has since been pulled from the Senate calendar.

S.689 would reauthorize various education and health programs related to mental health.  The education section focuses on promoting school-wide prevention through the development of positive behavioral supports and encouraging school-based mental health partnerships.  The public health section focuses on suicide prevention, helping children recover from traumatic events, mental health awareness for teachers and other individuals, and assessing barriers to integrating behavioral health and primary care. Urge your Members of Congress to cosponsor S. 689, critical, bi-partisan legislation that combined many bills (e.g., the Mental Health in Schools Act) that we have prioritized over the years, and to have Senate Leaders move the legislation for consideration in the House of Representatives.

  

Urge Your Members of Congress to Support Vital Mental Health Legislation. Contact Them Today By:

  1. Complete the form below with your information.
  2. Click the Send Message button to send your letter to these decision makers:
    • Your Senators
    • Your Representative

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Dear [Decision Maker],

I urge you to support the mental health funding levels in the Senate FY2014 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill (S.1284) and to cosponsor and enact the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2013 (S. 689).

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I urge you to support the funding levels in the Senate FY2014 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill (S.1284) in any future spending package or Continuing Resolution and to urge the Senate to have the House consider the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2013 (S. 689). These important bills will help address the mental health and addiction needs in our state and communities.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]

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