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No one is untouched by our mental health crisis

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and a reminder that there is likely no one untouched by the mental health crisis affecting Americans today.

Parents, grandparents, children, spouses, colleagues, and friends — we all know someone who has or is currently grappling with a mental health challenge and related stresses.

Another problem is the lack of professional mental health service providers. It is stunning to learn that over one-third of Americans live in areas designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas, meaning there are fewer mental health providers than the minimum their population would need.

This dynamic has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic as providers struggle managing their own feelings of fatigue, burnout, and depression.

KGW video

Last week I welcomed HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to Portland to talk about the mental health crisis in America for youth and adults. We visited Lines for Life, a Portland-based mental health resource organization that is dedicated to helping people young and old who are battling substance abuse, depression, or any issues causing anxiety or disruption. Their volunteers and staff are nothing short of extraordinary and a tremendous resource for those in need in our community.

In Congress, I am a champion for bolstering mental health services in our communities by bringing new federal investment to Portland. I was pleased to secure a $2.6 million federal funding grant for The Multnomah County Behavioral Health Resource Center, which serves people experiencing homelessness and mental health issues with a day shelter and access to services. I am also a strong supporter of the University of Oregon's efforts to repurpose the former Concordia University into the Ballmer Institute for Children's Behavioral Health. Children and families will benefit greatly from the research, training and innovation that this new institute will provide.

Under Secretary Becerra's leadership I am confident the Administration will continue to make mental health a priority. I will keep working to make the federal government a better partner to those struggling with mental health, through my work with the bipartisan Congressional Neuroscience Caucus and as a senior member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. I will also seek greater support for investments in mental health provider workforce training and development programs as well as crisis care.

We must support one another in taking care of those in need. For anyone who is struggling with mental health, or with a family member or friend needing help, Lines for Life has telephone support 24/7.



Posted on May 9, 2022.