Federal session addresses mental health, addiction

Federal session addresses mental health, addiction

Lawmakers recently joined health care professionals and advocates in assessing the current state of mental health and addiction. Specifically, they discussed actions needed in policy, philanthropy, employment, and research.

The Kennedy Forum-hosted effort in the Russell Senate Office Building’s Kennedy Caucus Room was attended by U.S. Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA), David Trone (D-MD), as well as former Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-MA) and former Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR).

“As a nation, there are tangible steps we can take right now to save more lives,” Kennedy, Mental Health for US co-chair and founder of The Kennedy Forum, said. “This is about equality for those with mental health and addiction challenges. We must act now to prioritize measures and resources that truly address these systemic problems and create meaningful, lasting change.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) maintains one in five adults experienced mental illness in 2018, and one in 14 people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder that same year.

“Mental health conditions and substance use disorders (SUDs) affect thousands of individuals and families nationwide and are tightly linked to other social impact areas, including homelessness, incarceration, education, and foster care,” Katherina Rosqueta, founding executive director of CHIP at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice, said. “In our latest guide, ‘Health in Mind,’ we show how donors can help. There are a range of philanthropic approaches that can enable these individuals, their families, and communities to thrive.”