Mental Health and Child Development

Issues: Health Care

Supporting Mental Health and Development 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), less than half of Americans with diagnosable mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and clinical depression are receiving appropriate treatment. This statistic tells me that we have a lot of work to do to make sure everyone gets the mental health care they need.  I have made removing barriers to mental health treatment one of my top priorities in Congress and strongly supported the Mental Health Parity Act of 2008.  I believe that all Americans should have access to mental healthcare when they need it.  Find out more about this important law that ensures that mental health problems receive the same level of care as physical diseases.  

Health Reform expands upon the Mental Health Parity Act and requires that the essential health benefits in the new health care exchanges will cover mental health services including both prevention and treatment. The new law also funds expanded research into depression and expands community mental health services. 

I continue to support legislation that expands access to mental health services. For example, I have cosponsored HR 2913, the Mental Health in Schools Act of 2017, which provides better access to mental health services in our nation’s 95,000 public schools.  Additionally, I supported passage of the amended Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which took meaningful steps towards reforming the mental health system. This bill included a number of important reforms that improve enforcement of mental health parity rules, expand access to community-based treatment, and strengthen the mental health professional workforce

Healthy Child Development 

One key to ensuring children and adults mental health is providing important educational, health and preventive services.  I have supported these essential programs to ensure that all children have the necessary support to reach their full potential.  One of my key priorities has been robust funding for Head Start and Early Head Start.  These programs have a vital impact on healthy child development and family functioning including educational benefits and mental health benefits.  Head Start programs in Macomb and Oakland counties are eligible for this federal funding to provide important opportunities for our children.

The Health Care Reform law created new programs to ensure a healthy start for infants and their mothers. I supported the inclusion of maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting programs that provide low-income new mothers services in their homes to ensure they have parenting and medical support. I am committed to reauthorizing and continuing to fund these crucial, evidence-based programs. In addition, to reduce child mortality and to improve infant health, I supported strong funding of Healthy Beginnings, a program that helps newborns and their families.

The Affordable Care Act provides many benefits for children.  Health reform protects children with pre-existing conditions from being denied health insurance just because they had been sick.  Heath reform strengthens Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides access to care to children and their families.  In April 2014, Medicaid was expanded in Michigan to cover more working families through the Healthy Michigan Program.

Health reform also ensures that children receive preventive health services, such as well-child visits, immunizations and screenings for developmental progress are free of cost-sharing.  In addition, the law allows young adults aged 18-26 to remain on their parents' health insurance.    


(Updated September 2017)