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Bipartisan Group Proposes Funding for Research on Mental Health Effects of COVID-19

FABBS is monitoring new legislation recently introduced by a bipartisan and bicameral group of Members of Congress: the COVID-19 Mental Health Research Act. Senators Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kaine (D-VA) introduced the bill in the Senate, while Representatives Tonko (D-NY) and Katko (R-NY) are sponsoring the House Version.

The bill would direct $100 million annually for five years to the National Institute of Mental Health to fund research on the mental health consequences of the pandemic, with a particular focus on health care workers. It would also support post-pandemic mental health response and suicide prevention, building on measures already included in COVID relief legislation.

The American Rescue Plan, which passed on Wednesday, March 10, provides $1.75 billion to The Center for Mental Health Services to fund mental health and substance abuse treatment and prevention. However, the $1.9 trillion package does not include funding to support research into the unique mental health impacts resulting from the pandemic.

On March 11, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services held a hearing on “COVID-19 and the Mental Health and Substance Use Crises”. A FABBS member will be among those testifying; Arthur Evans Jr., CEO of the American Psychological Association, will join the panel responding to lawmakers questions.

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