President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled a proposal to bolster the nation’s mental health infrastructure, including a national mental health commission.
“This is not just about health care.
This is about creating a strong, resilient, thriving mental health workforce, and we can’t do that without you,” Biden said during a press conference in the Oval Office.
The Biden administration said the plan will establish a new National Mental Heath Commission (NMHHC), which will be led by a former US Attorney General and will include more than 50 federal agencies and departments.
“In the coming weeks, I will be announcing a national plan to invest in our mental health systems and to create a national network of mental health professionals and experts to help us create a new and more effective national mental care system,” Biden told reporters.
The commission will be comprised of Biden’s choice of experts, including former presidents, governors, senior officials and other top-level federal and state officials, according to a White House statement.
The plan is being billed as a “national strategy” for mental health and addiction, the White House said.
In the past, Biden’s administration has attempted to roll out new mental health initiatives through a series of executive orders.
The Mental Health and Addiction Commission, a panel created by Biden’s office, will be the most senior federal commission focused on addressing mental health issues, including mental illness, addiction and other mental health problems.
“It will be a place where we can really, really focus on what we are trying to do as a nation, and the most important thing that we are doing is improving the lives of our people,” Biden added.
“We have to have a national conversation about how to make sure that we do our job well, we do it with compassion, and that we also do it effectively,” he said.
The president said the commission will include people from all walks of life and ethnicities.
“There are so many things we can do in our community to help alleviate the burden that we have on our communities,” Biden continued.
“Our families, our communities are hurting.
We are hurting, but we are also hurting, and I am here to say, this is our time.”
Biden also announced that the White Houses Office of National Drug Control Policy will be working with federal and local agencies and businesses to promote drug abuse treatment, mental health care and prevention.
The office of the director of National Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, which is charged with coordinating the efforts of the Department of Justice, will coordinate the work of the commission.
The announcement came two days after Biden announced the formation of the President’s Task Force on the Prevention and Treatment of Violence Against Women.
The task force is headed by Biden, who announced a number of new initiatives during his announcement.
Biden’s administration announced plans to expand drug treatment services and to expand the use of the Community Mental Health Alliance, a partnership between the Department on Families and the Department for Children and Families, to increase access to mental health services.
“I am proud to announce that we will expand the Community Mentally Ill Treatment Program, which will now provide 24-hour crisis intervention and emergency services for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis,” Biden wrote in a letter to Congress.
“The Department for Veterans Affairs will expand its crisis intervention program, including expanding access to psychiatric outpatient services and substance abuse treatment,” he added.
The White House has not yet announced when the commission, or the President, will unveil its final recommendations.