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Graves Bolsters House Passage of Comprehensive Mental Health Reform Legislation

July 6, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015. Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA), a co-sponsor of the bill, released the following statement:

“Many of us in Greater Baton Rouge have seen or felt personally the shortfalls of the mental health system, despite the nearly $130 billion the government spends on mental health programs. This bill is a step toward closing the gaps in the system – gaps that can lead good people down paths of poverty, violence or even suicide. By improving access, focusing on prevention and early intervention and creating additional capacity at healthcare facilities, we can fill the space where people simply need treatment. We’re looking forward to working this bill toward enactment so we can implement these changes and help provide the care people need when they need it.”

H.R. 2646 aims to better integrate the various components of the mental health system and prioritizes funding toward programs that have successful diagnostic and treatment outcomes. It also focuses resources to foster evidence-based care, fix the shortage of psychiatric hospital beds, empower caregivers under HIPAA privacy laws to allow for compassionate communication, bring accountability to mental health spending and help patients get treatment before illness spirals into crisis.

The bill earned widespread support from healthcare providers, advocates, families and individuals who have experienced the impacts of mental illness, and it passed the House with a bipartisan, nearly unanimous vote of 422-2.

Upon House passage of H.R. 2646, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) urged the Senate to take immediate action on his bipartisan bill, the Mental Health Reform Act