Underwood Joins Bipartisan Effort to Deliver Mental Health Resources During the Coronavirus Pandemic

February 5, 2021
Press Release
The Stopping the Mental Health Pandemic Act provides resources to expand access to mental health screenings and treatments, suicide prevention, and support for local health care providers who have been on the frontlines of coronavirus response efforts

WASHINGTON— Recently, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) joined a bipartisan legislative effort led by Representative Katie Porter (CA-45) to deliver mental health resources to health care professionals and communities during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Stopping the Mental Health Pandemic Act directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award funding to states, municipalities, community health centers, and other health care providers to address mental and behavioral health challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The bill would provide $50 million in federal resources to support evidence-based suicide prevention efforts, community recovery programs, mental health care workforce trainings, and treatment options for members of our community who are suffering from new and worsened mental and behavioral health conditions due to COVID-19. Underwood is an original cosponsor of the legislation. 

"As we continue to face the hardships brought on by the pandemic and other crises, access to mental and behavioral care services has never been more crucial. The Stopping the Mental Health Pandemic Act would help increase the capacity of local mental health care providers so they are better able to meet the increased need for services," said Underwood. "I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to support this bipartisan effort to help out our neighbors who are struggling during this challenging time." 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a rise in the severity of mental health issues our clients are facing. The children, adolescents, adults, and seniors we treat at our agency are reporting increased isolation, anxiety, depression, grief, and trauma, among other stressors. Increased federal resources would help us bring essential mental health services to our communities, including to the underserved and underinsured populations we work with. It is crucial that we have the resources we need to update our technology and purchase the safety equipment that keeps our clients and staff safe. Our counselors would also benefit immensely from trainings that address the significant increase in anxiety, depression, trauma, and suicidal thoughts that our clients are reporting. In addition, self-care training for frontline healthcare workers would help them carry on the important work they do to help others heal. The Stopping Mental Health Pandemic Act will enhance our ability to serve local community members with the quality, affordable mental health services they so greatly need,” said Laura Poss, Executive Director, TriCity Family Services.

The Stopping the Mental Health Pandemic Act is endorsed by the American Psychological Association, Postpartum Support International, The Jed Foundation, Well Being Trust, National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors, National Association for Rural Mental Health, International OCD Foundation, Postpartum Support International, NAMI, American Association on Health and Disability, Lakeshore Foundation, National Federation of Families, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Eating Disorder Coalition, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, SMART Recovery, Clinical Social Work Association, Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Kennedy Forum.