Cosponsor the Preventing Mental Health and Substance Use Crises During Emergencies Act

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) crises facing the U.S., with the isolation, stress, and economic uncertainty and losses of the pandemic driving increases in anxiety, depression, substance use, and other adverse mental health outcomes. Additional challenges restricted availability of already difficult-to-access MH/SUD treatment and recovery services.

The country was not prepared to address the MH/SUD outcomes of the COVID pandemic and remains ill-prepared to address similar outcomes of future pandemics or other public health emergencies.

We urge you to send the below message to your members of Congress to encourage them to cosponsor the Preventing Mental Health and Substance Use Crises During Emergencies Act (H.R. 434/S. 708), which would create a task force to assess the federal government’s response to the MH/SUD crises during and after COVID-19 and to create a national strategy to prevent future MH/SUD crises during public health emergencies.  

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Cosponsor the Preventing Mental Health and Substance Use Crises During Emergencies Act

Dear [Decision Maker],

I write to urge you to cosponsor the Preventing Mental Health and Substance Use Crises During Emergencies Act (H.R. 434/S. 708), which would ensure the federal government is prepared to address the mental health and substance use consequences of public health emergencies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) crises facing the U.S., with the isolation, stress, and economic uncertainty and losses of the pandemic driving increases in anxiety, depression, substance use, and other adverse mental health outcomes. A CDC survey in June found that 13.3% of respondents reported starting or increasing substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID. More than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality during the pandemic, and overdose deaths have reached record levels nationally.

We will continue to see negative MH/SUD outcomes from the pandemic even after the threat of COVID-19 recedes. Our country's already inadequate MH/SUD treatment system is unable to meet this rising demand.

There was desperate need to address MH/SUD before the pandemic, and even more of a need to do so now. The nation was unprepared not only for COVID itself, but also for the other consequences of such a public health emergency.

The Preventing Mental Health and Substance Use Crises During Emergencies Act would address this by directing the Department of Health and Human Services to convene a task force to assess the federal government's response to the MH/SUD crises during and after COVID-19 and to create a national strategy to prevent future MH/SUD crises during public health emergencies.

Thank you for your consideration. I hope you will cosponsor the Preventing Mental Health and Substance Use Crises During Emergencies Act to help improve the nation's response to the MH/SUD consequences of COVID-19 and prevent future MH/SUD crises.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Recipients

  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative