mental health

Congress Continues to Hint at Upcoming Mental Health Package

On April 5, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health met to discuss legislation to support American mental health and well-being. The hearing, overseen by Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-KY), is one of many Congressional hearings held in the past few months focused on potential policy solutions related to mental health (see previous coverage for more details). The hearing included two panels of experts. The first panel featured Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, and Administrator at…

Senate Discusses Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders, Hints at Bipartisan Legislation

On March 23, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing to discuss the national mental health and substance use disorder crisis and the federal programs being used to address these issues. The hearing, overseen by Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC), is one of many Congressional hearings held in the past few months focused on potential policy solutions related to mental health (see previous coverage for more details). The witnesses present at the hearing were Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services…

Congress Continues Focus on Mental Health in Subcommittee Hearing

On February 17, the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the national mental health crisis and plans to address it. The hearing, overseen by Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Ranking Member Morgan Griffith (R-VA), is the third Congressional hearing in the past month focused on potential policy solutions related to mental health (see previous coverage for more details). The witnesses present at the hearing were American Psychiatric Association member and vice-chair of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco Dr. Lisa Fortuna, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University Dr….

Congress Holds Hearings on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Earlier this month, the Senate Committee on Finance and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) held hearings to discuss issues related to mental health, including youth mental health and substance use disorders. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy was the sole witness at the Finance Committee’s hearing, while the HELP Committee featured Chief Science Officer of the American Psychological Association Dr. Mitch Prinstein (a member of the COSSA Board of Directors), Vice Chair of Education in the Psychiatry Department at Boston Medical Center Dr. Michelle Durham, Director of the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other…

House Committee Holds Hearing on COVID-19 Impacts on Children, Highlights Mental Health Impacts

On September 22, the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce (E&C) held a hearing to address the public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children. Witnesses included President of the American Academy of Pediatrics Dr. Lee Savio Beers, President of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Dr. Margaret G. Rush, Chief Executive Officer of the American Psychological Association (a COSSA governing member) Dr. Arthur Evans, founder of VaxTeen Kelly Danielpour, and Epidemiologist Dr. Tracy Beth Hoeg. Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO), Ranking Member Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and full Committee Chair…

Congress Holds Hearings on Behavioral Health

Over the past several weeks, Congressional Committees have held several hearings to discuss mental and behavioral health care, including mental health parity and emergency response to mental health crises. On April 15, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing on “Meeting the Moment: Improving Access to Behavioral and Mental Health Care.” The Subcommittee heard testimony from Chief of Psychology in the Public Interest at the American Psychological Association (APA) Brian Smedley, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Christine Moutier, Senior Vice President of Health Policy at The ERISA…

NRC Workshop Discusses Changing Social Norms

The National Research Council’s Committee on the Science of Changing Behavioral Health Norms held its first workshop on March 18, “Lessons Learned from Diverse Efforts to Change Social Norms.” The project, which is housed within the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, is co-sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The committee is charged with helping SAMHSA “implement strategies that improve attitudes and beliefs about mental and substance use disorders.” Sessions focused on messaging strategies, methods for…

Aging and Mental Health Institutes Seek Comments on Draft Strategic Plans

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are seeking public comment on the development of the Institutes’ strategic plans. The plans will guide the Institutes’ research priorities. National Institute on Aging The NIA recently released a request for information (RFI) seeking guidance on its strategic plan, Aging Well in the 21st Century: Strategic Directions for Research on Aging. The draft plan outlines NIA’s broad strategic directions for the Institute and “provides a point of reference for setting priorities and a framework for systematically analyzing the Institute’s…

NCHS Brief Looks at Depression and Obesity

A new data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) examines the relationship between obesity and depression. It found that 43 percent of adults with depression were obese and that adults with depression were more likely to be obese, particularly women. In addition, as the severity of depression symptoms increased, so did the proportion of those with obesity. And over half of people whose symptoms were not relieved by medication were obese. The report observes, “It is not clear whether depression or obesity occurred first because they were both measured at the same time. Other studies have shown…

House Subcommittee Discusses Suicide Prevention and Treatment

On September 18, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing, “Suicide Prevention and Treatment: Helping Loved Ones in Mental Health Crisis.” Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), a psychologist, explained that the hearing was an attempt to “take the conversation about suicide out of the dark shadow of stigma and into the bright light of truth and hope. Suicide is the deadly outcome of mental illness. Suicide is when depression kills. Suicide is an epidemic and its impact is staggering.”

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