“The American Medical Association (AMA) is grateful that President Biden highlighted mental health in the State of the Union, and we look forward to working with Congress and the administration to turn these important ideas into meaningful laws.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on mental health, especially for school-aged children and for communities that have been historically marginalized or minoritized. Even before the pandemic, however, many patients faced imposing barriers to mental health care. The president is on the right track in trying to make sure everyone who needs help can access care when and where they seek it.

“For this to happen, we must expand the supply and diversity of our mental health and substance use disorder workforce. We applaud the administration’s proposal for increased funding for prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery, as well as improving access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and harm reduction services.

“The AMA has been asking congressional leaders to take steps to address nearly 15 years of repeated failures by health insurance companies to comply with the landmark mental health and substance use disorder parity law. The president was right to draw attention to this critical gap in access to mental health care, and we are pleased he is prioritizing parity, particularly at this challenging time.

“As the president pointed out, there’s plenty of work on many health care fronts. There’s no reason why we can’t reason together and begin tackling them.”

Statement attributable to:
Gerald E. Harmon, M.D.
President, American Medical Association