Rep. Katko Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Support Local Mental Health and Addiction Facilities During COVID-19 Pandemic

Syracuse, NY— U.S. Rep. John Katko (R, NY-24) last week introduced the Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation that establishes a grant program with $100 billion in emergency funds to support local mental health and addiction facilities. These facilities will use the funds to help people manage mental health conditions and substance use disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rep. Katko was joined by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D, OH-13) in introducing this measure. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Todd Young (R-IN).

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated conditions for those struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders, and in some cases created new challenges for people. This public health crisis has also made it more difficult for Central New Yorkers to access vital services, support, and treatment. To address this, the Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act aims to provide local medical facilities with the necessary funds to initiate or expand mental health and substance use disorder services. These services include support groups, telephone helplines and websites, training programs, telehealth services, and outreach services.

Rep. John Katko

“For those struggling with substance use and mental health disorders, the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the challenges they face and made it more difficult to access care,” said Rep. Katko. “That’s why, alongside Congressman Ryan and Senators Klobuchar and Young, I am proud to introduce the Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act. By providing $100 million in emergency funds for mental health and substance use disorder treatment and outreach providers, our bipartisan and bicameral legislation will ensure those who need help during the crisis can safely access care.”

“For many who struggle with mental health and substance abuse disorders, fear of the coronavirus, increased economic hardship, and the challenge of staying home and social distancing have only made existing conditions harder and created new struggles for people across the country,” said Rep. Ryan. This legislation will provide Americans with the resources and support they need to combat this crisis.”

“People are grappling with mental health conditions and addiction all across the country and it is critical that we support them— especially as we confront the coronavirus,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Our legislation will expand access to vitally important programs during the pandemic to ensure that people have access to the services, support, and treatment they need.”

“This pandemic has been hard on Americans. Now more than ever, we must prioritize mental health by dedicating resources like telehealth, support groups, and outreach services so people can get the help that they need,” said Senator Young. “I introduced the Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act to provide mental health and addiction services and treatment to Hoosiers struggling at home.”

The Coronavirus Mental Health and Addiction Assistance Act has been endorsed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), American Counseling Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the American Psychiatric Association.