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Blunt, Stabenow Receive Missouri Behavioral Health Council’s Excellence in Mental Health Award

March 03, 2022

Mental heath award photo

Brent McGinty, CEO and President of Missouri Behavioral Health Council, presents U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) with the Excellence in Mental Health Award in Jefferson City, Mo., on Tuesday, February 22, 2022.

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WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), the top Republican on the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, received the Missouri Behavioral Health Council’s Excellence in Mental Health Award for leading the effort in Congress to improve and expand mental health treatment across the nation.

“Nearly one in five Americans are living with a diagnosable, and almost always treatable, mental health issue,” said Senator Blunt. “Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics play an invaluable role in helping people get the support they need by providing affordable and quality care close to home. A report by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing last year found that between 2017-2020, Missouri CCBHCs increased access to care by 27%, and significantly reduced emergency department and hospital visits. While I’m glad we’ve made progress in bringing mental health treatment in line with the way we treat all other health, there are numerous studies showing an alarming increase in the number of people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and addiction because of the pandemic. I appreciate the leadership of Senator Stabenow and Brent McGinty on this important issue, and I look forward to continuing our work on improving and expanding access to mental and behavioral health services.”

“No person struggling with mental health issues or addiction should ever go without the treatment they need because grant funding runs out. Health care is health care – whether it is above the neck or below the neck. That’s why Senator Blunt and I have been so dedicated to creating a way to fund all health care needs as part of our health care system. I’m grateful to receive this award alongside my wonderful partner, Roy Blunt,” said Senator Stabenow.

 “When the books are written about current mental health policy, history will show that no other policy makers did more for mental health in this country than Senators Roy Blunt and Debbie Stabenow,” said Brent McGinty, President and CEO of the Missouri Behavioral Health Council. “They have been mental health champions, making sure that Federally Qualified Health Centers and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics provide quality primary, dental and behavioral health care, both urban and rural, regardless of ability to pay. It was an honor to recognize Senators Blunt and Stabenow with the Excellence in Mental Health Award, and I’m grateful for their many contributions to improving mental and behavioral services across the country.”

Blunt and Stabenow’s Excellence in Mental Health Act, signed into law in 2014, marked the most significant expansion of community mental health and addiction services in decades. The legislation created Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs), which provide a wide range of services, including 24/7/365 crisis services, immediate screenings, risk assessments, and diagnoses.

Ten states, including Missouri and Michigan, have been selected for full participation in the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic program. In addition, startup grants have expanded the number of clinics to more than 300 communities across more than 40 states and that number continues to grow. These clinics serve about 1.5 million people across the country.

Last year, Blunt and Stabenow introduced the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Act of 2021, which would expand high-quality mental health and addiction services nationwide by giving every state the opportunity to fully fund the creation of CCBHCs in their communities as part of health care.

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