March 24, 2022
Health, Education, Labor & Pensions hearing on strengthening federal mental health and substance use disorder programs: Opportunities, challenges and emerging issues
On March 23, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing entitled, "Strengthening Federal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Programs: Opportunities, Challenges, and Emerging Issues." During the hearing, committee members discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation's mental health and a rise in substance use disorders (SUD). In particular, committee members discussed ways to improve children's access to mental and behavioral health services and how to overcome barriers to SUD treatment, including workforce shortages and integration of mental health and primary care.
The committee heard from witnesses representing federal agencies that support mental health and SUD programs, education, and research. Those witnesses discussed existing programs and efforts to improve access to mental and behavioral health and SUD programs and treatments, as well as ways Congress can build on those programs to address gaps in care. Committee leaders Patty Murray (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) announced their goal to develop a mental health package in early summer. The Senate Finance Committee is also working on developing a package of mental health care legislation in that timeframe.
Additional information is also available in the attached Tax Alert.
Senate HELP hearing