WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), announced her co-sponsorship of The Mental Health Equity Act of 2020. This legislation would address the issues of suicide and mental health in people from socially and economically disadvantaged communities by supporting scientific research and increasing funding for existing federal programs focused on minority mental health access.

“For far too long, minority communities have struggled with a lack of access to mental health services,” said Senator Rosen. “Now, the coronavirus pandemic is pushing our nation toward a mental health crisis that is already disproportionately affecting people from disadvantaged backgrounds. We must put an end to these long-standing health care disparities. I’m proud to co-sponsor The Mental Health Equity Act of 2020, legislation that will tackle this issue at its root and work to expand mental health access in minority communities. I will continue working to ensure all people in Nevada and across the nation have access to the care and treatment they need.”

BACKGROUND: The Mental Health Equity Act of 2020 would:

Provide Grants for Culturally Competent Mental Health Services:

  • Authorizes $20 million annually for five years to establish inter-professional health care teams to provide behavioral health care at Federally Qualified Health Centers, rural health clinics, and behavioral health programs that predominantly serve people of color.
  • Authorizes such sums as may be necessary to develop cultural competency educational curricula so students training to be social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists can more effectively treat individuals of color.  

Increase Authorize Funding Levels for Research and Minority Fellowship Program:

    • Authorizes $650 million annually for five years for to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to conduct research on addressing mental and physical health disparities.
    • Authorizes an additional $100 million annually for five years for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to build relationships with communities and support clinical research.
    • Doubles the authorization of the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) to $25 million for five years to help more students of color become psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and therapists. 

Direct Research and Resources at Federal Departments and Agencies:

    • Directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a Commission on the Effects of Smartphone and Social Media Usage on Adolescents.
    • Prohibits federal funds from being used for conversion therapy and prohibits SAMHSA grants from going to states that continue to allow such practices.

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