Finance Hearing Statement: “Mental Health in America: Where Are We Now?”

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, a member of the Finance committee, released the following statement for the committee’s hearing, “Mental Health in America: Where Are We Now?”  

“I thank Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden for bringing this committee together today to examine the state of our health care system in treating and caring for individuals who suffer with a mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five Americans experience a mental illness each year, and nearly one in 25 adults live with a serious mental illness.

“Congress has a moral obligation to ensure that Americans living with a mental illness have access to high-quality and affordable treatment, and an important part of that obligation is ensuring that that all individuals – no matter their age, zip code or socioeconomic status – have access to the treatment they need when they need it. At the same time, we must also practice good stewardship of taxpayer dollars when it comes to mental health treatment. Early intervention strategies are fiscally responsible and meaningful ways to improve health outcomes for individuals at a lower cost. In addition, we must ensure that Americans who need mental health care are receiving appropriate quality care and treatments, and I have worked to ensure that vulnerable populations, such children in foster care and seniors in nursing homes, are protected and being treated appropriately. 

“When it comes to examining mental health in America today, we’ve also got to look to the future and the condition of our mental health workforce. In order to expand treatment and access to treatment, we must ensure that we have enough health care providers, and that the health workforce has the training, tools and resources needed to can provide high-quality mental health care.”