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The Election Results: With Change Comes Opportunity

Now that the elections are over, it is time to turn out attention to passing mental health reform.

Along with our common commitment to improving the lives of individual and families affected by mental illness, one of NAMI’s strengths is its diversity. We are a nonpartisan grassroots movement—with advocates of every political stripe in both “red” and “blue” states.

This bipartisanship is a hallmark of NAMI and it is also a welcome hallmark of mental health reform legislation. We are fortunate to have strong champions across the aisle in Congress, such as U.S. Representatives Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) and U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

These champions and many other Congressional leaders worked together over the past two years to pass Representative Murphy’s bill, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act”, by an overwhelming vote of 422-2. The Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee unanimously passed a similar bill.

With a common understanding that mental illness affects children and adults across the nation, members of Congress have shown unprecedented unity in supporting early intervention for first episode psychosis, crisis intervention services, evidence-based practices such as Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), suicide prevention and integration of health, mental health and substance use care. We are encouraged that President-elect Donald Trump, during the presidential campaign, took the position that “[t]here are promising reforms being developed in Congress that should receive bi-partisan support.”

NAMI calls on Congress to finish the important and significant work on mental health reform in the upcoming session. NAMI also stands ready to work with President Trump and the new Congress to address America’s largest and costliest public health crisis—the lack of effective mental health care.

Questions? Please contact Angela Kimball (akimball@nami.org).