(Washington, D.C.) The House passed H.R. 2646 today by a bipartisan vote of 422 to 2. The “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act” provides necessary, sweeping changes to America’s mental health system. It offers commonsense reforms, streamlines and improves care, increases the amount of resources available to help those suffering, and continues care for those already receiving help from a mental health professional.

“I was proud to co-sponsor this bill and vote for its passage today,” said Representative Charlie Dent (PA-15). “One of the most common requests I hear from families and caregivers who are doing their utmost to help a child or family member with a mental health affliction is the need for them to have a greater say in the care of their child or loved one. This bill will finally help parents by allowing them greater access to working with doctors and mental health professionals in the treatment of their loved ones,” Dent added.

The provision allowing parents and caregivers greater access and more effective communication is just one of the major provisions of the bill.

Other key provisions include:

• A national increase in the number of in-patient beds for those receiving psychiatric treatment;

• An initiative to increase access to mental health treatment for individuals in underserved and rural areas by promoting tele-psychiatry;

• Ensuring a smooth transition from one level of psychiatric care to the next, preventing patients from falling through cracks during the transitions;

• Increasing the growth of successful new treatment methodologies through the establishment of a National Mental Health Policy Laboratory;

• Greater coordination of existing mental health programs through the creation of an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders within the Department of Health and Human Services;

• Providing comprehensive information to families and individuals regarding what treatments they have the right to access.

“Nearly 10 million Americans suffer from some form of a serious mental illness ranging from schizophrenia to major depression,” said Dent. “This legislation is an example of what the people have a right to expect from Congress – thoughtful, responsible legislation that will make an extraordinarily positive difference in the lives of millions of Americans.

I applaud my colleague from Pennsylvania, Representative Tim Murphy (PA-18), for his outstanding leadership both in crafting this legislation and ushering it through the House,” Dent concluded.

CONTACT: Shawn Millan (610) 770-3490