Overview Of The Improving Mental Health Access From The Emergency Department Act Of 2021

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As of 2019, an estimated 1 in 3 adults in the United States meets the criteria of a diagnosable mental health disorder (Banh et al., 2019). The Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Act of 2021 aims to increase mental health treatment, reduce the stigmatization of mental health patients in the healthcare setting, and allocate more resources and funding for the provision of quality follow-up care. While the proposed bill offers a solution to increasing and benefiting mental health services in established emergency departments, there is a clause that would disproportionately affect underfunded and underserved hospitals. Section 2: B3 of the bill states that a qualifying department must have “arrangements in …show more content…

Increasing mental health services and training has been evidenced to increase mental health awareness and decrease stigma (Doğan et al., 2022). Mental health inequalities specifically affect marginalized groups, such as women and people of color. Not only are women statistically more likely to experience anxiety and mood disorders (Banh et al., 2019), but people of color are more likely to experience increased stigma and a lack of culturally adapted treatments when receiving mental health services (Hall et al., 2021). Additionally, underserved hospitals in rural communities and historically Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native communities disproportionately experience inadequate healthcare physical and mental health care services (Zabel & Tobey, 2023). Improving patient care, implementing mental health training, providing culturally aware evidenced-based treatments, and increasing the availability of acute mental health care and follow-up care in an emergency setting can help to reduce these …show more content…

The policy holds bipartisan support, with co-sponsors from both republican and democratic parties (Congressional Research Service, 2021). Bipartisan support is increasingly important, especially in regards to healthcare reform and mental health services (Healthcare Leadership Council, 2023). Healthcare reform must be economically and politically sustainable (Healthcare Leadership Council, 2023). Bipartisan support increases the longevity of healthcare policies as well as increases public support (Healthcare Leadership Council, 2023). Despite this bipartisan support, the wording and the framing of the bill represent a point of weakness. The language utilized within a policy can directly influence bill support, acceptance, and funding (Benner et al., 2021). In Section 2: B3 of the policy, it is stated that the receiving facility must have “arrangements in place with other providers of care” (Congressional Research Service, 2021). This could disproportionately affect hospitals in rural or marginalized areas that are currently in need of such mental health

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