ARLINGTON, Va., May 26, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) joined with mental health advocates on Capitol Hill and presented petitions with 200,000 signatures calling for a vote on S. 2680, the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016.
Signed by Americans across the country, the petitions were presented at a Senate Summit on Mental Health organized by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). Advocates subsequently delivered them to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
The 200,000 signatures were collected by NAMI, Sandy Hook Promise, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Eating Disorders Coalition in support of legislation to fix America's broken mental health system.
Reported unanimously by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), S. 2680 is currently on the Senate calendar, awaiting action. The bill was introduced by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the committee chair and ranking member respectively.
"Too often, calls for national action following tragic events fall to the back burner as urgency fades. Yet, every day, hundreds of thousands of people affected by mental illness struggle because they do not have the services and support needed to help them recover and live productive lives," said NAMI Chief Executive Officer Mary Giliberti. "Today, we are showing that Americans all across the country are raising their voices and calling for urgent congressional action to begin to address America's broken mental health system."
The Mental Health Reform Act, S. 2680, will combat suicide in our schools and communities through reauthorization of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and extension of a national suicide technical assistance center to support those in need. The bill will improve access to mental health care by providing more trained professionals who are available to help and by holding health insurance plans accountable for providing the mental health coverage people paid for and should receive.
"We are grateful to the leadership that Senators Alexander and Murray have provided thus far and to Senators Cassidy and Murphy, who have been vigorous advocates for reform," Giliberti said.
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
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SOURCE National Alliance on Mental Illness