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Napolitano Introduces Resolution, Joins Dozens of Colleagues to Recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month

May 1, 2019
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC) Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32), supported by her fellow Congressional Mental Health Caucus Co-Chair Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24), introduced a bipartisan resolution, H. Res. 337, and joined dozens of lawmakers to recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month.

“During the month of May we join with advocates and families across the country to shine light on mental health and raise awareness to reach all in need. This Congressional resolution shows our unity on an issue affecting as many as one in four Americans, helps reduce stigma, and sends a clear message that it is always okay to ask for help,” Napolitano said. “I am deeply grateful to all of my colleagues who stood on the steps of the Capitol and shared messages of hope on social media today to kick off Mental Health Awareness Month strong. Erasing stigma enables us to further educate one another and all our loved ones on warning signs and symptoms, such as a personality change, withdrawal, or hopelessness. Congress and the public have come a long way in support for mental health, and we must continue to build on these critical strides we have made.”

Since 1949, May has been observed as Mental Health Awareness Month, a time when advocates and activists across the country draw attention to mental health in America. Today, more people die from suicide in the United States than from traffic accidents or homicides, and 22 veterans are lost to suicide daily. Because of the stigma associated with mental illness, many people are too ashamed or embarrassed to seek the help they need for themselves or their loved ones. Mental Health Awareness Month is a time to work together to break through that stigma, express compassion for those who struggle with mental health issues, and elevate the proven culturally and linguistically appropriate services that can help change their lives for the better.

Napolitano also joined Katko in reintroducing H.R. 2431, legislation to reduce the shortage in our nation’s mental health workforce.

“There is a national shortage of trained mental health professionals, and we must do all we can to address it,” Napolitano said. “The California Future Health Workforce Commission has stated that without dramatic policy changes by 2030, ‘California will have 41% fewer psychiatrists and 11% fewer psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical counselors, and social workers than needed.’ We have no time to waste. We need robust investment in mental health in America. I am proud to join my great Co-Chair, Congressman Katko in introducing this legislation to offer future mental health professionals and clinicians the opportunity to have their educational loans forgiven with their commitment to provide life-saving services to our communities.”

“With only one third of those with a mental illness receiving mental healthcare treatment, Americans require better access to trained mental healthcare professionals. It is imperative we create a sustainable workforce of therapists, psychologists, and counselors who can meet the mental healthcare needs of the nation,” said Rep. Katko. “This legislation incentivizes mental healthcare professionals to practice in underserved communities, improving access to treatment and improving the quality of care. I am grateful to once again collaborate with my Co-Chair Congresswoman Napolitano in introducing this critical legislation.”

The Congressional Mental Health Caucus will be hosting a series of events to educate lawmakers and the public for Mental Health Awareness Month. The full calendar of events can be found here.

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