Addressing mental health issues

MARQUETTE- U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today met with community leaders at the Pathways Community Mental Health in Marquette to discuss initiatives she is championing to strengthen mental health services.  As an advocate for quality mental health services and author of the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health Act, Sen. Stabenow is leading a bipartisan coalition to help de-stigmatize mental health and ensure Americans can get the care they need.

Senator Stabenow said, “Strengthening mental health services isn’t partisan. It is an important issue that all of our families are touched by in some way. We need to treat mental health the same as physical health, and while we have made some strides, we must do more to raise the bar on mental health treatment. Now is the time to improve mental health services so families can get the care and support they need.”

John Basse, CEO of Pathways Community Mental Health, commented, “Pathways Community Mental Health provides critical support to thousands of people who are in need of help. We’re so pleased to have the support of Senator Stabenow, who is committed to strengthening mental health services.”

According to Stabenow’s office,  one-third of all people in the U.S. living with mood disorders do not receive treatment and fewer than half of those with severe mental disorders receive treatment of any kind in a given year. In addition, with 22 veterans a day committing suicide, the Senator says the need for better community services is even more critical.

As Chairwoman of the State House Mental Health Committee in the 1980’s, Stabenow led efforts to strengthen mental health services, including authoring the Children’s Mental Health Act, and the nationally recognized Family Support Subsidy Act.

In a press release from her office, Senator Stabenow says she believes that mental health parity – making sure those living with mental health conditions have the same access to treatment as those with physical conditions – is a fundamental step to ensure those who need treatment are able to get it. It was her amendment in the Senate Finance Committee that included mental health parity as part of our nation’s health care reform law. Now she is sponsoring legislation, the Excellence in Mental Health Act, with a bipartisan coalition that would expand access to treatment, improve the quality of care and ensure that behavioral health services can be adequately reimbursed under Medicaid, just as Federally Qualified Community Health Centers are reimbursed for comprehensive primary care services.

Senator Stabenow goes on to say she has been working to raise the bar on research and treatment of mental disorders. She is also working to give our first responders the tools they need to better recognize the signs of mental illness and connect people with the care they need.

Recent studies say one in five U.S. children has some kind of mental health disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Senator Stabenow has been especially focused on making sure that children and families struggling with mental health issues get the support they need.

For a complete summary of Sen. Stabenow’s mental health initiatives, click here<>.