John Delaney's plan for Mental Health

1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience a mental health illness in any given year yet nearly 60% don’t receive mental health services.

Not receiving proper treatment for mental health can negatively affect many other aspects of one’s life, including economic stability. Approximately $193 billion in earnings is lost every year due to serious mental illnesses.1 The U.S. has not properly emphasized the need to treat our mental health needs as compared with our physical health needs.

In Congress, Delaney was on the front lines in defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was an important first step in expanding access to mental health treatment for millions of Americans. Delaney voted dozens of times against partisan efforts to repeal the ACA. In 2018, Delaney introduced the Suicide Prevention Analytics Act which aims to address the gap in data reporting as it relates to self-harm and suicidal behavior. This bipartisan bill creates a pilot program to help improve the compilation and sharing of near real-time suicidal behavior information among care providers, prevention experts, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To address the inadequacy of our mental health record as a country, Delaney proposes to:

  • Require and enforce mental health parity within the health care system to ensure that individuals who need mental and behavioral health services have the same coverage and access as those who need physical health services.
    •  Delaney has made mental health parity a critical component of his universal health care plan to ensure everyone’s health care plans provides the necessary coverage to receive care.
  • Expand access to mental health resources for at-risk populations.
    • Increase the number of mental health professionals in schools to provide services to students, emphasizing early detection and intervention. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over one-third of students with a mental health condition drop out, the highest dropout rate of any disability group.2
    • Increase mental health professionals available to those incarcerated in correctional facilities. 64% of those in local jails have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition.3
  • Expand mental and behavioral telehealth options. This is particularly important in rural and underserved communities.
    •  Invest in rural broadband to boost telehealth effectiveness.
  • Increase Medicaid reimbursements rates.
    • Increasing reimbursement rates will help to build provider networks and expand access to mental health professionals for low income populations.

  1. “Mental Health By The Numbers.” National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2019. https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers
  2. “Mental Health By The Numbers.” National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2019. https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers
  3. “Creating New Hope For Mental Illness And The Criminal Justice System.” National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2017. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/October-2017/Creating-New-Hope-for-Mental-Illness-and-the-Crimi