Three bills address mental illness, substance use during pandemic

Three bills address mental illness, substance use during pandemic

Three bipartisan bills recently reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives aim to help those struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Emergency Support for Substance Use Disorders Act would create emergency grants to ensure people with substance use disorders continue to receive outreach, education, and treatment efforts.

The Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act would create a $100 billion grant program to support local mental health and addiction treatment facilities.

The Mental Health Services for Students Act would create a $130 million grant program for schools to partner with local mental health professionals to establish comprehensive mental health services for students.

“In Central New York, we’re seeing the ongoing pandemic contribute to rising rates of mental illness and suicide as well as substance use disorders and overdose deaths,” said U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY), co-sponsor of all three bills. “In Congress, I’m continuing to prioritize increasing access to mental healthcare and substance use disorder support services amid the ongoing pandemic by reintroducing three meaningful pieces of legislation.”

In 2020, nearly half of Americans reported struggling with mental health or substance use disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control.