Providence’s Well Being Trust commends President Biden’s 2024 budget blueprint prioritizing mental health

Providence’s Well Being Trust is encouraged to see President Biden prioritize mental health in his recently released 2024 budget proposal.

In the 2024 budget, President Biden addressed the mental health crisis in our nation, noting that nearly one in four adults are currently facing a mental illness and suicide has become the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24. Investing in the mental and behavioral health of our country is an important step in improving these harrowing statistics.

The Administration’s budget proposed the following priorities:

  • Expanding coverage of mental health benefits and building the network of mental health providers.
  • Lowering the cost of mental health services, requiring parity in coverage between behavioral health and medical benefits, and expanding coverage for people with Medicare.
  • Investing in the behavioral health workforce, youth mental health treatment, Certified Community Based Behavioral Health Clinics, Community Mental Health Centers, and mental health research.
  • Investing in the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, scaling follow-up crisis services, and expanding the CDC’s suicide prevention program to the entire U.S and territories.
  • Expanding the CDC’s “What Works in Schools” program to up to 75 of the largest local education agencies.
  • Accelerating mental health research for new treatments and improving accuracy and success of existing treatments.

The budget also laid out plans to address specific mental health needs for those disproportionately affected by mental health issues, such as veterans, mothers, youth and those with substance abuse disorders. These initiatives include:

  • Investing $139 million in Veterans Affairs research programs to improve access to mental health care and lower the cost of mental health services.
  • Supporting clinical trials and epidemiological studies on risk and prevention factors.
  • Providing $559 million to advance veteran suicide prevention initiatives, including growing the Veterans Crisis Line’s 988 and support for the VA’s National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide.
  • Providing $578 million to hire more school-based counselors, psychologists, social workers and other health professionals in primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities.
  • Supporting the maternal mental health hotline, and screening and treatment for maternal mental health concerns.
  • Requiring all health plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder benefits, ensuring that plans have a solid network of behavioral health providers.
  • Providing $275 million over 10 years to ensure that health care plans and issuers comply with mental health and substance use disorder requirements and to hold plans and issuers that do not comply accountable.

These proposed initiatives align with our work to improving the mental health and well-being of communities within the Providence footprint, especially those who are most vulnerable, and advancing work nationally with like-minded partners.

As our country is still reeling from the impacts of COVID-19, these investments will be critical for combatting our national mental health crisis.