Policy UpdatesU.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions

U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions

SUMMARY – During his invited testimony, President and CEO Andy Keller, PhD, discussed the mental health impacts of COVID-19 and how lessons learned in Texas can be used nationally to address mental health and substance use disorders.

On April 28, 2021, Dr. Keller testified that the primary lesson to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that the nation can rapidly scale up and deliver early detection, treatment, and prevention if we pair the will to act with the necessary resources. This would be much easier to do for mental illness and addiction, because we already know how to successfully detect and treat most of these conditions.

Dr. Keller further discussed the response of COVID-19 in Texas and the long-standing epidemics of mental illness and substance use, which worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Dr. Keller also explained the importance of funding psychiatry access programs commensurate with the national need and making regulatory relief on telehealth permanent. He stressed the promise of the Collaborative Care Model for health care and the crucial need for early intervention for psychosis with coordinated specialty care nationwide.