Mental Health America (MHA) congratulates the Assistant Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Use and the Interagency Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) on issuing its first report to Congress, The Way Forward: Federal Action for a System That Works for All People Living With SMI and SED and Their Families and Caregivers. MHA worked tirelessly with Congress and its mental health and substance use partners for years to pass a positive first step in much needed behavioral health reform – and last December the 21st Century Cures Act became law. With this report, all the Members of Congress and stakeholder organizations can see their vision begin to materialize.
MHA is particularly pleased to see many of its priorities and recommendations reflected in the report, such as:
- Focus on screening and early intervention across all primary care settings and in schools
- Discussion of the role of schools in ensuring the success of children with mental health needs
- Reform to limit criminal justice contact and impact for individuals with mental health needs
- Coordination across agencies to promote the scale-up of effective programs across payers
The report does note that the recommendations were issued by the non-federal members of the ISMICC. For the recommendations to have an impact, the federal agencies will need to implement them. MHA looks forward to working with each of the federal agencies to determine their role in carrying out the recommendations, bringing the nation closer to the vision of prevention for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated treatment for those in need, and recovery as the goal.