Finance leaders outline mental health legislative timeline

At the time, the committee had hoped to develop their proposal by the end of the year and to pass the legislation in 2022.

But even the updated timeline faces an increasingly packed schedule for lawmakers, who still have to come to an agreement on a fiscal 2022 spending package and multiple expiring programs like Medicaid funding for territories in an election year. Democrats are also still hoping to move forward with a pared-down version of their massive social spending and climate bill.


Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, in testimony before the committee, elaborated on several points he highlighted during a call to action last year.

Murthy issued an advisory in December about the youth mental health crisis, which has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, he called for “a swift and coordinated response” to expand access to mental health care including supporting the workforce, improving the collection of data and research, and addressing some of the underlying barriers that can impact the mental health of children.

“The last two years have dramatically changed young people’s experiences at home and school and in their communities,” Murthy said in his testimony. “But at the heart of our youth mental health crisis is a pervasive stigma that tells young people they should be embarrassed if they are struggling with depression, anxiety, stress or loneliness.”

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