Bold Vision for America's Mental Well-Being: It's Time to Redesign the U.S. Mental & Behavioral Health System [open pdf - 515KB]
From the Document: "Mental health is foundational for our overall well-being and must be prioritized to improve both health care and society. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in mental and addiction issues in America. As of 2018, approximately 19% of all adults carried a mental health diagnosis and approximately 20.3 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder. The data also shows an increase in suicides (suicide was the 10th leading cause of death overall and second for young people ages 10 years to 34 years) indicative of increased severity of illness and related negative impacts. In 2019, rates of death from alcohol, drugs, and suicide increased, with preliminary data from 2020 showing that drug overdoses increased by over 30%. Statistics like these demonstrate the vital role mental health treatment and care has to play in supporting healthy communities, especially for individuals already dealing with a mental or behavioral health diagnosis. Yet, there are low rates of treatment across the care continuum. [...] Access to mental health treatment is impacted by numerous issues including: geography, workforce issues, cost and health insurance coverage, with disparities for racial/ethnic and other underrepresented groups. There are not enough clinicians available or that accept health insurance to meet existing demand. Policymakers must do all we can to increase workforce numbers but in doing so must recognize that these steps alone are insufficient to solve our many problems. We must become more creative with how we think about who does, what, where and for whom."
Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado: https://www.bennet.senate.gov/