Noting that nearly 44 million American adults, and millions of children, experience mental health conditions each year, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress, President Obama issued a proclamation recognizing May 2016 as National Mental Health Awareness Month.  The proclamation references the Affordable Care Act, stating the Act “prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people based on pre-existing conditions, requires coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services in individual and small group markets, and expands mental health and substance use disorder parity policies, which are estimated to help more than 60 million Americans.  Nearly 15 million more Americans have gained Medicaid coverage since October 2013, significantly improving access to mental health care.  And because of more than $100 million in funding from the Affordable Care Act, community health centers have expanded behavioral health services for nearly 900,000 people nationwide over the past 2 years.”

While recognizing the progress that has been made, the proclamation also acknowledges that some Americans are still not receiving the help they need; therefore, the President’s budget proposal includes a new half-billion dollar investment “to improve access to mental health care, engage individuals with serious mental illness in care, and help ensure behavioral health care systems work for everyone.”  The President has also established a Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force and signed the Clay Hunt SAV Act.  To learn more about the Task Force and the SAV Act, and to read the proclamation in its entirety, click here: