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Representative Darin LaHood

Representing the 18th District of Illinois

LaHood Works Towards Overhaul Of Broken Mental Health System & Improved Access For Rural, Underserved Areas

July 6, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Rep. Darin LaHood participated in debate on the House Floor, advocating in support of H.R. 2646 - the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016, a measure that would overhaul mental health care in the United States. This bill takes important steps towards fixing the broken mental healthcare system in America by refocusing and coordinating our federal mental health programs, removing barriers to care, and facilitating improved communication between health care providers, patients, and their families. 

“With a decade of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, I have seen the negative effects of a broken mental health care system in need of reform. I have litigated cases in which mental health plays a factor and I can assure you that when it comes to mental illness, mere incarceration is not a solution,” stated Rep. LaHood on the House Floor. “Our system is indisputably broken. This bill addresses the immediate crisis while implementing needed and comprehensive reforms. H.R. 2646 will assist in my district by helping to link pediatricians and primary care doctors with psychiatrists and psychologists in rural areas where patients do not have access to care. I am proud to cosponsor this measure.”

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that 112 different federal programs spread across multiple agencies are not working together to promote effective and efficient delivery of medical care and “interagency coordination for programs supporting individuals with serious mental illness is lacking.” Despite the fact that the federal government dedicates $130 billion annually towards mental health, there is a nationwide shortage of nearly 100,000 needed psychiatric beds. For every 2,000 children with a mental health disorder, only one child psychiatrist is available. This shortage is keenly felt in rural communities with limited access to medical treatment of any sort—let alone mental health services.

H.R. 2646 passed out of the House on a 422—2 vote and will now be considered by the Senate.

To view Rep. Darin LaHood argue in favor of H.R. 2646 during debate on the House Floor, CLICK HERE.