President Biden Calls for Senator Stabenow’s Mental Health Initiative in His New Unity Agenda

At State of the Union, President Biden Announced New Strategy to Address the Mental Health Crisis by Building Upon Senator Stabenow’s Work

Thursday, March 03, 2022

WASHINGTON—At the State of the Union, President Biden announced his new Unity Agenda that includes investing in mental health and addiction services. In this agenda, President Biden plans to build on Senator Stabenow’s creation of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, by proposing to make this initiative permanent while granting states funding to expand community clinics.


“My mental health and addiction services initiative has been the most significant step forward we have taken in decades to transform how we deliver behavioral health services in our community. Now, President Biden is ready to work together to expand on this initiative—making it permanent and allowing every state to provide care where people need it,” said Senator Stabenow. “No person struggling with mental health issues or addiction should ever go without the treatment they need because grant funding runs out.  Health care is health care – whether it is above the neck or below the neck. That’s why I have been so dedicated to creating a way to fund all health care needs as part of our health care system.”


The White House plan reads, “The American Rescue Plan invested millions of dollars to expand Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs), a proven model of care that has been shown to improve health outcomes while lowering costs, by delivering 24/7 mental health and substance use care to millions of Americans, no matter who they are or whether they’re able to pay. The President’s FY23 budget will build on this down payment, by proposing to make this program permanent while granting states funding to expand CCBHCs for the communities that need them most. The President’s budget will also permanently extend funding for Community Mental Health Centers, which provide essential mental health services to vulnerable communities that would otherwise lack access.”


For years, Senator Stabenow has been leading the effort to fund health care above the neck the same way we fund health care below the neck. She authored the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), which was signed into law in 2014.


Senator Stabenow’s legislation accomplished two critical needs:

  • Created high-quality standards through Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics. These clinics are required to provide a comprehensive set of behavioral health services to anyone who walks through their door, including 24/7/365 crisis services; outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment services; immediate screenings, risk assessments, and diagnoses; and care coordination with emergency rooms, law enforcement, and veteran groups.


  • Established a nationwide initiative to permanently close the gap in funding between physical and behavioral health care. Rather than depend on grant funding, Senator Stabenow created a completely new model where Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics will receive reimbursement through Medicaid for the full cost of services they provide at higher, more competitive rates than community mental health centers currently receive.


According to the Department of Health and Human Services, people who receive services at Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics:

  • Had 63.2% fewer emergency department visits for behavioral health.
  • Spent 60.3% less time in jails.
  • Saw a 40.7% decrease in homelessness.


Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Stabenow has secured a total of $1.52 billion in the American Rescue Plan, Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the national Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion Grants program. This program is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.