Mental health becomes focal point of Senate gun framework

The main mental health component of the framework is a proposal by Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., that would provide states with Medicaid funding for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, which treat patients with mental illness and substance use disorders 24/7 and have been shown to expand access to care and decrease homelessness and arrests.

Senators were hoping to release text of legislation this week and vote on a bill before the July Fourth recess.

Increased worries about mental health

Although experts dispute the link between mental illness and gun homicides, experts are increasingly worried about the state of mental health in the US, especially after the pandemic caused isolation, death and illness.

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and children in particular are seeing increased rates of depression, anxiety and suicide attempts.

“If that is included, that could really be a game-changer for mental health. … Having that resource available in communities can go a long way to address mental health access issues,” Hannah Wesolowski, chief advocacy officer of government relations for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said about the Stabenow-Blunt proposal.

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