On Tuesday, President Biden delivered his annual State of the Union Address, in which the Administration called for partisan unity, emphasizing the need for Congress to work together on legislation to move America forward. Topics covered ranged, from healthcare to economics, as President Biden highlighted bipartisan legislation that unite us all.
Last year, President Biden introduced his Unity Agenda, his strategy to tackle four historically bipartisan-supported policies (1) combatting the opioid crisis; (2) addressing the mental health crisis, especially in the pediatric population; (3) increasing access and support for U.S. veterans; and (4) continuing the Cancer Moonshot initiative. On Tuesday, the President announced his plan to continue that agenda.
To address the mental health crisis in America, Biden’s strategy has three objectives: create healthy environments, expand access to care, and strengthen system capacity.
Research has shown that social media is harmful to the mental health well being of children and adolescents, who are being subjected to excessive data collection by big tech companies. Thus, the President will expand on the Surgeon General’s Youth Mental Health Advisory and the Department of Health and Human Services’ new Center of Excellence on Social Media and Mental Wellnessand will continue to advance the recent passage of theChildren and Media Research Advancement Act in efforts to create healthy environments.
President Biden plans to make behavioral healthcare more affordable and accessible. To accomplish this task, the Department of Education (ED) will issue $280 million in grants to high-need districts to improved school-based mental health programs. This spring, new rules for health insurance will begin that ensure insurance companies provide equitable access to services, as well as pay mental health providers comparable with other health care professionals. In addition, the Administration plans to allocate three times more resources to promote interstate license reciprocity for the delivery of mental health services across state lines.
For the system to withstand capacity, a focus on recruitment, funding, and researching the behavioral health workforce is at the forefront. The Administration will work with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand the Minority Fellowship program to recruit a more diverse workforce. Further, the Administration will support the mental health workforce through the creation of a new campaign with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which will provide a center for mental health and resiliency resources to health care organizations.
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