Underwood Works to Deliver Mental Health Resources During Coronavirus Pandemic

June 10, 2020
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— Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) has joined a legislative effort to deliver mental health resources to communities during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Stopping the Mental Health Pandemic Act (H.R. 7080) 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 provides 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.  


“Northern Illinois families continue to face serious hardships from the coronavirus pandemic. The Stopping the Mental Health Pandemic Act will provide the support our community needs to navigate these new challenges,” said Underwood. “I’m thankful for the leadership of Representative Porter in introducing this legislation, and I urge my colleagues to support this effort to bring urgently needed resources to communities across the country.” 


“The Illinois Association of Behavioral Health offers its full endorsement of this legislation, and of Rep. Underwood’s commitment to the behavioral health of her constituents in Illinois.  Even as the current pandemic overtaxes our hospital system, we must not lose sight of the damage it is also causing in terms of increased substance used disorders - including alcoholism and opioid overdoses - and an ever-growing need for mental health services.  Our behavioral health system, already stretched thin, is in desperate need of federal assistance. We hope that Congress will follow the lead of Ms. Underwood and pass this critical legislation,” said Jessica Hayes, Board Chair, Illinois Association for Behavior Health.  


The Stopping the Mental Health Pandemic Act has also gained endorsements from the American Psychiatric Association, National Association for Children's Behavioral Health, The Clinical Social Work Association, American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work, Psychotherapy Action Network, Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action, Residential Eating Disorders Consortium, SMART Recovery, National Association for Rural Mental Health, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), Schizophrenia And Related Disorders Alliance of America, National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, American Association on Health and Disability, Lakeshore Foundation, National Register of Health Service Psychologists, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.