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June 22, 2022

Comprehensive Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Package Passes House with Six of Congressman Trone’s Bills Included

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 22, 2022

Contact: Sasha Galbreath, Sasha.Galbreath@mail.house.gov 

Comprehensive Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Package Passes House with Six of Congressman Trone’s Bills Included

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman David Trone (D-MD), co-founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, proudly voted to pass the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, a historic, comprehensive suite of over 30 pieces of mental health and substance use-related legislation. The historic legislative package included six Trone-led bills and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support (402-20).

The legislation serves as a bipartisan, strategic approach to addressing the United States’ mental health crisis, with the goal of providing resources for those struggling with mental health and/or substance use disorders. The Act also includes funding to support student and veteran mental health.

Today, over 50 million Americans suffer from mental illness and over 20 million Americans struggle with substance use disorder. We have lost nearly 1 million lives to suicide and over 1 million to drug overdoses in the last twenty years — that’s greater than the number of US service members killed in battle in every war throughout our nation’s history.

“This is one of the greatest crises we’ve ever faced as a nation — and Congress’ duty is crystal clear: our fellow Americans, from the smallest towns to the biggest cities, are counting on us to deliver common sense, bipartisan solutions,” said Congressman David Trone. “The Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, which includes six of my bills, serves as the first step in a long and continuing journey to solve these issues. Today, I proudly cast my vote to pass this measure and help save countless lives. The Senate must move quickly to get this legislation to the President’s desk.”

The Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act includes six pieces of legislation introduced by Congressman Trone:

  • H.R.1385, Behavioral Health Coordination and Communication Act, will create an Interagency Coordinator to address the currently disjointed federal efforts and foster constant communication among all relevant agencies and departments in order to focus the federal government’s approach to mental health and substance use disorders. 
  • H.R.2376, Excellence in Recovery Housing Act, will develop new guidelines for best practices for recovery housing, provide grants to states to implement those guidelines, create an interagency working group to coordinate the government’s work on recovery housing, and commission a study to review the availability and quality of recovery housing. 
  • H.R.2379, State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act of 2021, will authorize $1.75 billion annually for five years, for a total of $8.75 billion, to fund programs and resources for states and tribes for prevention, harm reduction (naloxone distribution), treatment (residential and outpatient), and recovery (housing and peer support groups)
  • H.R.7483, Cost of Mental Illness Act of 2022, will direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a study on the direct and indirect costs of serious mental illness for nongovernmental entities, the Federal Government, and State, local, and Tribal governments, and for other purposes.
  • Elements of H.R.4244, STOP Stigma Act, will require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue guidance for renaming the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and other agencies and programs with names that contain stigmatizing terms such as abuse, addict, or alcoholic.
  • H.R.6636, the Due Process Continuity of Care Act, will amend the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MIEP) to allow for Medicaid coverage of health care services for juvenile pre-trial detainees.

Multiple community leaders in Maryland and Members of Congress spoke in support of Trone’s legislation and the broader effort:

“Substance use and mental health issues continue to be a number one concern in our county, state, and country. With the passing of the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, we will see more direct funding for much-needed resources like harm reduction, recovery services, and prevention methods, thanks to H.R.2379, State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act of 2021 – one of many of Congressman Trone’s bills included,” said Hagerstown Mayor Emily Keller. “The STOP Stigma Act will be game-changing for eliminating stigma – one of the main reasons people don’t reach out for help. I applaud this massive, bipartisan effort to help improve the health of our country in a holistic, thoughtful, and evidence-based approach.

“The bills that are proposed as part of the package will go a long way toward addressing the mental health and substance-related disorder crises that exist in rural communities. Specifically, the bills that address stigma, increase coordination, and provide funding will help locals prevent and treat behavioral health disorders,” said Robert “Bob” Stephens, County Health Officer, Garrett County.

“Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disease burden in the United States and the number one cause of disability. Yet, in 2020, 55% of adults in Maryland do not receive treatment. As we see demand for crisis services rise to unprecedented levels due to the pandemic, particularly among our youth, we must take action now to prevent greater loss in the coming decades,” said Andrea Walker, Director of Behavioral Health Services for the Frederick County Health Department. “This package of comprehensive legislation addresses the biggest barriers to effectively responding to behavioral health issues at the local level – data, stigma and funding. Together these bills work as force multipliers to reduce stigma, collect needed data for effective program planning, and fund evidence based services in local communities.” 

“These bills will address many issues that have impeded patients from accessing care. Specifically, stigma has been a long-term issue when it comes to behavioral health services and addressing it will help to increase understanding and acceptance of the person seeking services. Additionally, giving people in Maryland access to quality recovery housing is an important part of the recovery path for many. Having access to recovery housing in the community gives the person a chance to use the skills that they are learning while in early recovery in a community setting,” said Kathryn Whitacre, Director, Behavioral Health & Medical Social Work at UPMC Western Maryland. “UPMC Western Maryland appreciates our partnership with Congressman Trone and his focused energy on combatting the opioid scourge and increasing funds for Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training. Through our affiliation with UPMC Western Behavioral Health Services, we are proud to be a leader in advancing behavioral health services in Western Maryland.  

“Today’s reality is that over 210,000 people live with a mental health condition in Montgomery County, and that number continues to grow each and every day. It’s clear that mental health does not discriminate and continues to affect people of all ages, races, religions, and ethnicities within our community,” said Nicole Lucas, NAMI Montgomery County Director of Programs. “Collectively, H.R.7666, Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, will dramatically improve the lives of Montgomery County residents affected by mental health conditions and helps our community strive to create a better tomorrow—a tomorrow where all people living with mental health conditions can experience hope, recovery, and wellness in a community free of stigma.”

“This COVID pandemic has further exposed and—in many cases—worsened gaps in our health care system, particularly for patients living with mental illness or substance use disorders,” said Congressman Tonko (D-NY), co-lead of the Behavioral Health Coordination and Communication Act. “We cannot let any more of our neighbors, friends and loved ones fall through the cracks because they were denied life-saving care. I am proud to stand with Congressman Trone in supporting this bold, compassionate bill that will strengthen our national approach to behavioral health and help find and address gaps in access so that those who need it most can receive the treatment they need.”

“We know that the pandemic has taken a significant emotional toll on people. We cannot ignore the very real mental health challenges that this has had on our children, our frontline heroes, and our communities,” said Congressman Cárdenas (D-CA), co-lead of the Behavioral Health Coordination and Communication Act. “As we continue to work to beat the virus, let us not neglect our mental health. There is no health without mental health. That’s why I am proud to join Congressman Trone in introducing this commonsense legislation to coordinate our national response to the growing mental health crisis.”

“As we continue to build up our mental health infrastructure and forge a comprehensive path forward, it is crucial that we make bold investments in the resources that ensure a strong continuum of care from government programs to providers and patients,” said Congresswoman Matsui (D-CA), co-lead of the Behavioral Health Coordination and Communication Act. “I have long led the charge to prioritize mental health on the same level as physical health, and we are making real progress toward achieving these goals. The resources in this package deliver a real step forward, one that not only invests in prevention and crisis care, but also makes sure that we are maximizing coordination of care so that patients have the support they need at whatever stage they are in their illness. I applaud my colleagues for passing this crucial legislation and I will continue my efforts to improve access to the highest quality of mental health care for all Americans.”

“As a country, we cannot accept the stigmas surrounding mental health,” said Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI), co-lead of the STOP Stigma Act. “Too often, we use language that demeans mental health issues and those that suffer from them. We have come a long way in fighting these stigmas, but there is always more work to be done to lend hope to mental wellness.”

“For far too long, many Americans struggling with substance use disorder have sought support at recovery homes that provide substandard care, failing to provide them with a true opportunity to recover. That’s unacceptable, and we must do better,” said Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA), co-lead of the Excellence in Recovery Housing Act. “We can make real progress in addressing the substance use disorder crisis by creating higher standards for recovery homes and helping states implement more effective guidelines. I’m proud to see our legislation to deliver on those priorities pass the House today with bipartisan support.”

“No corner of our country has gone untouched by the opioid crisis,” said Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), co-lead of the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act of 2021. “I introduced the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act of 2021 to continue to build on the federal support for states in their fight against this epidemic. I am incredibly proud that today the House passed this bipartisan legislation so we can help expand the workforce for on-the-ground organizations and provide the tools they need to save lives through both treatment and prevention. I am thankful for the diligent work of organizations like Hope One, the Center for Prevention and Counseling, Prevention is Key and Community Hope in NJ-11 for using this federal funding in their efforts to bring together advocates, healthcare professionals, and law enforcement to teach prevention strategies and support those in recovery.”

“Unless we address the ongoing barriers to care so many Americans face, our nation’s mental health will only continue to decline. This legislation will bring much-needed care to some of our most vulnerable, like juvenile pre-trial detainees who are innocent until proven guilty. It will also provide the federal coordination needed to ensure that our government is operating efficiently and effectively, for all American citizens – especially our youth,” said Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN),  co-lead of the Behavioral Health Coordination and Communication Act.

“Programs like State and Tribal Opioid Response Grants play a crucial role in helping communities combat the opioid epidemic. I am glad the House again passed our legislation, which gives states and tribes flexibility, certainty, and stability to implement prevention, treatment, and recovery plans,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), co-lead of the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act of 2021.

Full text of the package is available here.

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the mental health and addiction crises, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

Follow Congressman Trone at @RepDavidTrone for updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.