Legislation recently re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would increase federal funding for mental health screenings and services at community health centers.
The Community Health Center Mental Health Screening Act would authorize $50 million per fiscal year for a new grant program to ensure community health centers have the resources to maintain quality mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The need for mental health care has increased during the pandemic. People are increasingly feeling anxious and depressed because of the economic crisis, social isolation, and other stresses brought about by the pandemic.
Funding from the grant program can be used to help patients pay out-of-pocket costs associated with screenings and mental health services; hire and train personnel; and purchase equipment and supplies for conducting mental and behavioral health screenings and providing mental health services.
Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) re-introduced the bill.
“We must commit ourselves to devoting more resources to mental health as it is long overdue that we treat mental health with the same seriousness we treat all other health,” Dean said. “And as the pandemic forces us to reimagine our society — this act is a first step ensuring we consistently fund mental health support in all our communities.”