JULY 2023 UPDATE: Both bills have now been introduced in Congress. Please consider urging your legislator to support these important bills!
By Laura Braden, CTIPP’s Director of Communications & Outreach
To begin Mental Health Awareness Month, Congress has introduced two significant bipartisan bills that would help prevent, address, and mitigate the negative impacts of trauma through community-based/led initiatives.
Senate co-sponsors: Dick Durbin (D-IL), Shelly Moore-Capito (R-WV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
House co-sponsors: TBD (as of May 5, 2023)
This recently re-introduced bipartisan legislation would authorize funding to expand the trauma-informed workforce in schools, health care settings, social services, first responders, and the justice system, and increase resources for communities to address the impact of trauma. Specifically, the bill:
Creates a new U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) grant program to fund community-based coalitions that coordinate stakeholders and deliver targeted local services to address trauma
Creates a new HHS grant program to support hospital-based trauma interventions, such as for patients that suffer violent injuries, to address mental health needs, prevent re-injury, and improve long-term outcomes
Increases funding for the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program, in order to recruit more mental health clinicians—including from under-represented populations—to serve in schools
Enhances federal training programs at HHS, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Education to provide more tools for early childhood clinicians, teachers, school leaders, first responders, and community leaders
Reauthorizes four critical federal programs that Durbin, Capito, Murkowski, and Davis helped to pass in 2018: the Interagency Task Force on Trauma-Informed Care, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the CDC’s ACEs Data Collection program, and SAMHSA’s Trauma Support in Schools grant program
In Fiscal Year 2023, these four programs received $117 million in federal funding to support trauma research, training, coordination, and mental health services, a $20 million increase from the prior year
Senate sponsor: Ed Markey (D-MA)
House co-sponsors: Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Don Bacon (R-NE), Kathy Castor (D-FL), and Mary Peltola (D-AK)
This recently introduced bipartisan legislation would authorize grant funding to help communities proactively develop local strategies to plan for and respond to the mental health challenges caused by disasters and toxic stress. Specifically, the bill:
Establishes a competitive grant program at the CDC to create, operate, or expand community-based programs that use a public health approach to build mental wellness and resilience
Works within these programs to enhance the capacity of all residents for mental wellness and resilience to prevent and heal mental health problems generated by disasters and toxic stresses
Incorporates a set aside to help address rural mental health disparities
Supports community initiatives to build their own developmental and culturally appropriate strategies to enhance and sustain population-level mental wellness and resilience, with specific attention to high-risk individuals
CTIPP has endorsed both bills and in the coming weeks, we will announce advocacy opportunities for the trauma-informed movement to make their voices heard.