Legislative Prospectus: Supporting Mental and Behavioral Health
January 18, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated significant unmet behavioral and mental health needs in the United States, particularly among youth, rural communities, and non-English speaking communities. A multitude of factors, including stigma and workforce shortages, contributed to this issue as the demand for services increased over the course of the pandemic. Mental health challenges experienced by youth reached crisis levels in 2021, with CDC data showing a 31% increase in emergency department visits among 12-17 year-olds for suspected suicide attempts.
All levels of government are working to improve mental and behavioral healthcare access, with states and territories adopting a wide array of legislative policies. These policies include greater investment in suicide prevention, increasing support for youth mental health, and leveraging telehealth to improve access to care.