Mental Health Improvements Part of Obama's Gun Control Action

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Obama has proposed a $500 million investment to improve access to mental health care as part of gun control reform.
Obama has proposed a $500 million investment to improve access to mental health care as part of gun control reform.

President Obama's executive action to curb gun violence includes improvements to the nations' mental health system.

While the action, formally announced today, primarily deals with helping to curtail the recent scourge of gun-related deaths, a provision of the measure includes a push to dedicate additional resources to boost access to mental health care. While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by Obama, has increased access to mental health for millions of America, “incidents of violence continue to highlight a crisis in America's mental health system,” the White House said in a fact sheet.

Part of that effort will include preventing people prohibited by law from having guns get access to them, the Administration added.

However, in light of gain in access to mental health treatment, less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health issues get the treatment the mean. To improve this situation, Obama has proposed a $500 million investment to improve access to mental health care by increasing service capacity and the psychiatric health care workforce.

“This effort would increase access to mental health services to protect the health of children and communities, prevent suicide, and promote mental health as a top priority.”

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) heralded the move by Obama.

“We support the president's efforts to expand background checks, propose policies that respect physician-patient confidentiality, and increase funding for mental health services by $500 million,” APA President Renee Binder, MD, said in a statement. “We will work with Congress to make that funding proposal a reality, as we also work with allies in Congress who are championing comprehensive mental health reform.”

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