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Rep. Porter Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Address Mental Health Needs Caused by COVID-19 Pandemic

Congresswoman’s legislation would help organizations providing mental and behavioral health services

WASHINGTON—Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help meet the skyrocketing demand for mental and behavioral health services during the coronavirus pandemic. Her bipartisan Stopping the Mental Health Pandemic Act would strengthen the efforts of state and local governments, non-profit organizations, and service providers over the next two years to tackle behavioral health needs related to COVID-19.

“As the coronavirus attacks our physical health, it is also hurting the mental health of millions of Americans. Families have lost loved ones and millions live in isolation,” Congresswoman Porter said. “Keeping Orange County families safe means comprehensively addressing all of the health needs in our community. I’m proud to lead a bipartisan effort to get much-needed help for those grappling with behavioral health needs during this pandemic.”

Congresswoman Porter’s legislation is supported by leading mental health advocacy organizations, including the: California Consortium of Addiction Programs & Providers (CCAPP), National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, Behavioral Health Association of Providers (BHAP), and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“CCAPP applauds the efforts of Rep. Porter as she seeks to improve the behavioral health of her fellow Californians,” California Consortium of Addiction Programs & Providers CEO Pete Nielsen said. “This pandemic has not only brought about new challenges for our state’s hospital system, and the physical health of its citizens, but for the treatment of substance use disorders as well. The services we offer- already far too underfunded- are being overwhelmed due to shocking increases in alcoholism, opioid overdoses, and a plethora of other ailments. Our citizens will never truly be healthy if we ignore their behavioral health needs, especially during a public health emergency. We thank Ms. Porter for her commitment and hope that Congress will follow her lead.”

Congresswoman Porter has been a consistent advocate for improving mental health care. In February, she invited Dr. Heather Huszti, Chief Psychologist at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), as her guest to the State of the Union to highlight the importance of pediatric mental health. She has also introduced bipartisan legislation to better enforce federal laws that require that mental health coverage cannot be more restrictive than coverage for other types of medical care.