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House Pushes Passage of Mental Health Equity Bill

Sep 29, 2020
Introduced in the House of Representatives on December 17, 2019 by Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), H.R.5469 would provide licensed professional counselors with additional resources to address racial inequities within mental health care.

On September 29, 2020, the House is scheduled to consider H.R.5469 - Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act of 2019 for passage. Introduced in the House of Representatives on December 17, 2019 by Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), H.R.5469 would provide licensed professional counselors with additional resources to address racial inequities within mental health care. Additional funding and programs to address racial and ethnic minority mental health disparities would also be authorized by H.R.5469. Currently, the bill has 35 co-sponsors; a two-thirds majority would be needed for passage.

What H.R.5469 Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act of 2019 does:

  • The measure would authorize an additional $650 million annually from fiscal 2021 through 2025 for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. It also would authorize an additional $100 million annually over that period for the National Institutes of Health to build relations with communities and support clinical research, which would include racial or ethnic disparities in physical and mental health.
  • It would increase the authorization for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Minority Fellowship Program to $25 million annually from fiscal 2021 through 2025.
  • The measure would authorize $20 million annually for the first five fiscal years after the bill’s enactment for the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) to award grants to establish interprofessional teams that provide behavioral health care. Eligible entities would include federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, and behavioral health programs serving a high proportion of individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups.
  • The measure would authorize $10 million annually from fiscal 2021 through 2025 for HHS to develop an outreach and education strategy to promote behavioral and mental health and reduce stigma associated with mental health conditions and substance abuse among minority groups.
  • HHS would be directed to award grants to qualified national organizations to develop best practices on mental health disparities to use when training students in counseling, social work, psychology and other related fields. The grants would also be used to certify community health workers on the best practices.
  • The National Institutes of Health would be directed to enter into an arrangement with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine or another body to study mental health disparities in racial and ethnic minority groups and submit the result to Congress.
If you would like to support H.R.5469 - Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act of 2019, please contact your representative in the House and let them know the importance of this critical piece of legislation.

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