House OKs bill to address barriers to mental health care

Date:


State Rep. Natalie Higgins

Last week, the House of Representatives debated and passed H4879, An Act Addressing Barriers to Care for Mental Health, which addresses five major priorities:

• Acute Psychiatric Care and Crisis Response. For many people with acute mental health needs, the only place to get help is an emergency department. Unfortunately, these patients may wait days, weeks, and even months for more appropriate admission to an inpatient psychiatric unit or less-acute level of care. One essential tool this legislation includes is an online portal that provides access to real-time data on youth and adults seeking mental health and substance use services.

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• Youth Behavioral Health Initiatives. In December 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an Advisory to highlight the urgent need to address the nation’s youth mental health crisis. This crisis is compounded by longer average wait times for initial assessments, ongoing therapy, and medication services for children than for adults. This legislation seeks to improve the wellness of young people by enhancing school-based supports and increasing access points for effective behavioral health treatment.



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