Mental illness and substance use affect about one in five people in our country.
It’s a big problem and one that has likely grown in recent months with the general upheaval caused by the pandemic. Facilities devoted to offering support for individuals struggling with these issues matter, but historically funding to support them has been inconsistent at best. That’s now changing thanks to a 2013 law.
“If somebody needed heart surgery, you’d never hear a doctor say, ‘we’d love to help you, but the grant ran out.’” — Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics in Michigan will now be reimbursed through Medicaid for the full cost of providing patient services. The change is the result of a bipartisan initiative called the “Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act,” which was spearheaded by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO).
Listen: Sen. Debbie Stabenow on the need to access quality mental healthcare during a pandemic and COVID-19 stimulus efforts.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) says funding for behavioral health services is integral. She also says it’s important to view mental health as equally important to physical health.
“We are making [mental health] structurally a part of health care. This is how we have comprehensive care,” Stabenow says. “If somebody needed heart surgery, you’d never hear a doctor say, ‘we’d love to help you, but the grant ran out.’”
Stabenow says the pandemic has highlighted how important mental health access is for people, especially medical professionals and other front line workers.
“There’s a real sense of PTSD as if going into war, you’re watching deaths, you can’t control it. To be able to reach out and talk about that, is very, very important,” she says.
“All we get are just these optics, pretend, political gains. It’s cruel and it’s irresponsible.” — Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
Although bipartisan efforts like the “Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act” have seen some success in recent years, the struggle over COVID-19 relief continues Stabenow says she believes Republicans, including the Trump administration, are prioritizing political gains over the American people.
“If Senator McConnell and Senate Republicans want a bill then we will be able to negotiate. Right now, they had what they believe they wanted, a safety net for Wall Street. A safety net for families is not on the agenda,” she says. “All we get are just these optics, pretend, political gains, it’s cruel and it’s irresponsible.”
This article was written by Detroit Today student producer Ali Audet.