RCPA member Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (CCTC) hosted the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra for a roundtable discussion on children’s mental health and the impact of community violence on the afternoon of Friday, July 15, 2022. The roundtable was moderated by Dr. Ala Stanford, who is the Regional Director for HSS, responsible for all of Pennsylvania, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Dr. Stanford is a practicing physician and the founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, which focuses on testing and vaccinating Philadelphia residents against COVID-19.
Xavier Becerra is the 25th Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the first Latino to hold the office in the history of the United States. Secretary Becerra was in Philadelphia to promote the launch of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline), which is a network of more than 200 state and local call centers.
“CCTC was proud to be chosen as the organization the Secretary visited. It was wonderful to share with him the work that is being done in Philadelphia around children’s mental health services and highlight the impactful work CCTC provides in our centers, community, and schools,” said Antonio Valdés, Chief Executive Officer at CCTC.
As reported by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, the Senate last night passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, critical legislation to dramatically increase funding for mental health programs and reduce the threat and incidence of violence in America.
Introduced by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), the bill provides funding to increase access to mental health and substance use services, notably through expanding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) nationwide. This will connect considerably more people to lifesaving care, while helping support and grow the mental health and substance use treatment workforce.
The bill also includes aid to broaden access to telehealth services and mental health awareness programs, such as Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), and provides additional funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ahead of next month’s 988 implementation, which will help save lives and provide needed support to strengthen the capacity of our crisis care system.
Given the speed the bill is moving, the National Council created an excellent initial analysis of the bill and its potential impact.
Key provisions include:
If you have questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.
RCPA hopes that you found the National Council on Mental Wellbeing’s Hill Day at Home 2022 a valuable experience. This year’s focus supported the initiatives that are affecting our organizations and delivery of services to vulnerable consumers across Pennsylvania and our nation.
Be sure to check out the overview from Hill Day at Home 2022 that outlines the issues, impacts, strategies, and “The Ask” from our legislators and stakeholders. These include:
RCPA will continue to collaborate with the National Council and our members to advocate for these and other critical initiatives.
If you have any questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.
ODP Announcement 22-062 is to inform interested parties of the 988 lifeline. Trained crisis response professionals can provide support to individuals considering suicide, self-harm, or any behavioral, mental health, or substance abuse need.
Starting on July 16, 2022, people who call, text, or chat with 988 will be directly connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The existing Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will remain available.
Callers can also connect with the Veterans Crisis Line or receive assistance in Spanish. These services will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are free to any caller no matter where they live.
Additional resources can be found here.