Tenney, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Mental Health Services


Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) today introduced H.R. 7237, the Reauthorizing Evidence-based And Crisis Help Initiatives Needed to Generate (REACHING) Improved Mental Health Outcomes for Patients Act with Representatives Morgan Griffith (VA), Sharice Davids (KS), and Angie Craig (MN). This legislation would reauthorize and improve programs providing care and treatment for mental health, suicide prevention, substance abuse, and related issues.

The COVID-19 pandemic worsened mental health and substance abuse challenges facing the United States. In the one-year period ending in April 2021, drug overdose deaths in the U.S. tragically increased 28.5% to 100,306, the highest ever recorded, according to the CDC. Further, 4 in 10 U.S. adults have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression during the pandemic, compared with 1 in 10 who reported these symptoms in the first half of 2019, according to KFF. Despite this sad rise in poor mental health outcomes, New York State cut funding for 200 inpatient mental health treatment beds operated by the Office of Mental Health last year.

"The full extent of the dire psychological impacts brought on by the pandemic and related lockdowns is just beginning to be fully understood, but one thing is clear: our friends and families need access to mental health care now more than ever. I am honored to join my colleagues in supporting the reauthorization of critical programs to ensure that mental health resources continue to reach individuals who need them most. I am also confident that the improvement in the Crisis Care program will allow policy makers to better incorporate the needs of law enforcement. I strongly urge my colleagues to pass this important legislation," said Tenney.

"Many Americans struggle with a mental health-related affliction, and indicators suggest the COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated these difficulties," said Griffith. "Congress should prioritize reauthorizing and improving programs that provide mental health care. Our bipartisan bill, the REACHING Improved Mental Health Outcomes for Patients Act, would help meet this challenge and offer resources needed to support those grappling with mental health-related difficulties."

"Mental health is health, and especially after the difficulties of the pandemic, it's critical that we continue to treat it as such," said Davids. "These programs have helped create healthy, resilient communities across the country, from helping first responders identify mental health symptoms to improving suicide prevention strategies for veterans and young folks. I'm glad to work across the aisle to continue moving forward on mental health."

"Especially in the wake of the COVID-19 public health crisis, it's critical that the federal government provides the tools and funding necessary to ensure that every American can access the mental health treatment they deserve at a price they can afford," said Craig. "I'm proud to work alongside Representatives Griffith, Davids and Tenney on this important legislation -- and will continue working to support legislative efforts to address the mental health crisis in this country."