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Late yesterday, Congress passed major legislation (a bill combining the FY 2021 federal budget and COVID-relief provisions) that includes big wins for mental health — provisions that NAMI fought for that will benefit people with mental health conditions as well as nonprofits, like NAMI state and local organizations.
This legislation is especially critical given the dramatic increases in people experiencing mental health conditions during this pandemic. “NAMI thanks Congress for passing the COVID-19 relief package and new federal budget,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison, Jr. “While there is always progress to be made, this bill is a big step in the right direction. Mental health is a crisis within the COVID-19 pandemic and will have long-lasting effects that cannot be ignored. Continued investment now and in the future is essential for addressing the increased need of people struggling with mental health conditions.”
Over the last eight months, NAMI has been fighting for mental health to be included in this package. NAMI advocates sent tens of thousands of emails and held dozens of meetings with their elected officials to demand that mental health care be included. Thanks to their efforts, the legislation includes:
The package also includes the federal fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget, which had been running on a series of continuing resolutions since the budget year began on Oct. 1. The federal budget includes notable increases for mental health:
Department of Justice (DOJ)
Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Veterans Administration (VA)
NAMI celebrates increased funding for many of our priorities, but we will continue to advocate to ensure better access to telehealth (the bill limits extension of telehealth to people with a pre-existing relationship with a provider), for passage of the Medicaid Reentry Act, which would allow Medicaid coverage for people leaving criminal justice settings, and for increased Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), which would help states fund their Medicaid programs.
Thank your legislators here.
Learn more in our funding overview.