WASHINGTON – Advocates for Community Health stands in solidarity with the millions of Americans that health centers serve, each of whom has felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also stand with our continuously overburdened health center workforce, who have served their patients with commitment and grace. We applaud President Biden and his administration for their commitment to addressing our country’s mental health crisis in all settings—including health centers, schools, communities, and homes.
1 in 4 adults in the United States suffers from a diagnosable mental health illness each year, and these rates are even higher in underserved communities where health centers provide care. Health centers are uniquely positioned to service these patients through our comprehensive health care model, which integrates primary and behavioral health. We treat patients as whole people with culturally competent, patient-centered interventions.
We are especially encouraged by U.S. Health Resources & Services Administrator Carole Johnson’s commitment to “bolster the work of HRSA-funded community health centers, which provide health care to nearly 29 million Americans, to address the mental health needs of children and families in underserved communities across the country.” We know that supporting the growing mental health needs of the communities we serve is directly tied to building a sustainable health center workforce, who also deserve access to critical mental health resources that reduce burnout. We hope that leaders in Congress and the Administration can agree on a bipartisan path forward to ensure both the health care heroes on the frontlines and the patients they provide lifesaving care to have what they need to thrive.
Tackling this crisis will require significant investment in and collaboration with community health centers nationwide. ACH has shared recommendations on behavioral health policy with Senate leaders, and we are eager to continue working with the Biden Administration and Congress to move this work forward.
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About Advocates for Community Health
Advocates for Community Health is a membership organization for large, federally qualified health centers that strives to advance the delivery of health care to underserved populations and to achieve health equity for patients and communities in need. We are committed to working collaboratively to advance well-defined and forward-thinking policies at the national level. By leveraging the wisdom, agility, and innovation of our members, ACH brings bold leadership to drive change in the American healthcare system. To learn more about membership and partnership opportunities, visit www.advocatesforcommunityhealth.org.