Senators Stabenow, Blunt, and Advocates: Time to Act to Expand Community Mental Health and Addiction Services

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) today joined the National Council for Behavioral Health to push for the passage of their bipartisan bill, the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act, which renews and expands funding for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). The Senators also announced data from a new report outlining the success of these clinics across the country.


The report, authored by the National Council for Behavioral Health, shows that CCBHCs are increasing access to high-quality mental health and addiction treatment that is making a difference in the lives of thousands of individuals and communities across the country. For example, in the first year of operations, 93% of CCBHCs provided staff training in suicide prevention and response, 87% reported an increased number of patients served, and 94% reported an increase in the number of patients treated for addiction.


“It is time to act. Mental illness and drug addiction affect about one in five people in our country. Today’s report is clear—these clinics are delivering treatment and changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Congress needs to work together and take the next step by expanding these highly successful services to people in communities across our country,” said Senator Stabenow.


"Nearly one in five Americans suffers from a mental or behavioral health issue that is diagnosable and almost always treatable, but only a fraction receives the care they need," said Senator Blunt. "The National Council's new report shows that the Excellence in Mental Health Act has had a substantial impact in bridging the gap and improving access to care. As one of the pilot states participating in the Excellence program, CCBHCs in Missouri have helped people get treatment faster and closer to home, provided new tools to law enforcement and brought us closer to our goal of treating mental and behavioral health like all other health. Given the demonstrated success of the Excellence program so far, now is the time to keep building on the progress that's been made by extending and expanding funding for CCBHCs."


“Neglecting to expand the CCBHC program would devastate our nation. These clinics play such a vital role in mental health and addictions care to the most vulnerable people in our communities,” National Council for Behavioral Health President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia said. “We are grateful for the work of Sens. Stabenow and Blunt and many others who want to bring the benefits of CCBHCs to more people in more states and communities while allowing those currently served by a CCBHC to continue receiving the treatment they depend on through the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act. As Senator Stabenow says, ‘It’s time to act.’”


Mental illness and substance use affect about one in five people in our country. Only 12% of Americans struggling with addiction receive treatment in any given year, and only 43% of people with mental illness receive the care they need. Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for ages 10-34, and drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.