Wyden urges Congress to address America’s mental health crisis

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, released a Finance Committee report on Tuesday that called on Congress to address the serious mental health crisis plaguing our country.

“The United States is experiencing a deep crisis in mental health care,” Wyden said in the report, citing rising numbers of suicides, drug overdoses, homelessness and children suffering from depression and mental illness. anxiety across the country.

Wyden also highlighted Oregon’s position in the crisis, adding that the state’s rate of unmet need for mental health treatment is the fourth highest in the nation, with 57% of adult Oregonians living with the disease. mentally untreated.

“The house is on fire and the country is short of firefighters to put out the blaze,” Wyden said. “This crisis has been further compounded by the disruption, isolation and loss suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In their research on the mental health crisis over the past year, Wyden’s committee found that many Americans cannot afford or access quality mental health care, the US mental health system needs a stronger workforce and insurance companies need to emphasize mental health care in the same way. as physical care.

To combat these issues, Wyden is leading a bipartisan effort in his committee to get people the health care they need using programs like Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He adds that racial, ethnic, gender and geographic disparities within the health care system must be recognized and addressed to address gaps in mental health treatment and coverage.

Overall, Wyden’s hope for the future is that “every American can access the mental health and addictions care they and their loved ones need when they need it.”

By Momoko Baker