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We support more accessible and affordable mental health care.

We all should have easy access to mental health care on a regular, ongoing basis. Assessment and treatment for mental health conditions can save lives, but only if individuals at risk can afford to obtain care. AFSP supports efforts to ensure that individuals receive the same insurance coverage for their mental health as their physical health, also known as mental health parity.

The federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act became law in 2008 and requires that insurance coverage for behavioral health services (mental health & substance use disorder care) be no more restrictive than coverage for other medical conditions. Unfortunately, we know from the U.S. Department of Labor and Health and Human Services’ recent report to Congress about mental health parity that enforcement and compliance are not consistent across the country. Therefore, we need your help to ensure every state is enforcing federal and state parity laws and holding health insurers accountable, so all those who need mental health services receive adequate and affordable coverage.

We have also seen the value that telehealth has in making mental healthcare more accessible, especially for those in rural and underserved communities. AFSP supports efforts to expand coverage for mental health care through telehealth services.

Below are several bills that AFSP supports:

This bill authorizes $25 million in annual grant funding for states to implement federal mental health and substance use disorder parity requirements. These grants will help states enforce existing laws that prevent insurers from unfairly restricting coverage for mental health services. (S.1962/H.R.3753)

This bill provides authority for the Department of Labor to enforce parity requirements for group health plans with respect to the coverage of mental health and substance use disorder benefits. (H.R.1364)

This bill removes the statutory requirement that Medicare beneficiaries be seen in-person within six months of being treated for mental and behavioral health services through telehealth, so that patients can get the care they need from home. (S.2061/H.R.4058)

This bill would require private health insurance plans that cover in-person mental health or substance use disorder services to cover them on equal terms through telehealth, during and for 90 days after the COVID-19 public health emergency. (S.660/H.R.2264)

This bill would require CMS to issue guidance to states on ways to increase access to telehealth; require the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission to study the impact of telehealth; and require the GAO to evaluate federal interagency collaboration with respect to the provision of telehealth services to minors. (S.1798/H.R.1397)

This bill would eliminate the 190-day lifetime limit on inpatient psychiatric hospital services under Medicare. (S.3061/H.R.5674)

This bill would increase the number of states that may participate in two-year Medicaid demonstration programs that improve access to community mental health services. It also provides for additional grants to certified community behavioral health clinics. (S.2069/H.R.4323)



You can play an important role in demanding #MoreForMentalHealth, and championing the cause of more accessible and affordable mental health care. Bring this and other mental health topics up when talking with others in your community, share a message or one of our images on social media to spark an important conversation, and encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to help spread the word.

I Demand More Accessible & Affordable Care For Mental Health

AFSP has local chapters in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, working to educate and provide support and resources to those around them. Visit your local chapter to find out what’s planned in your community and join the raised voices of thousands of volunteers and advocates to demand #MoreForMentalHealth.

Visit AFSP’s Action Center to learn more about the federal bills AFSP supports related to accessible and affordable mental health care. Sign up to become an AFSP mental health and suicide prevention advocate, and join 40,000+ other passionate advocates dedicated to changing the culture around mental health.

Turning Listening into Legislation

Turning Listening into Legislation: Advocating for More Accessible and Affordable Mental Health Care

By Nancy Farrell

Turning Listening into Legislation

Every family in America needs accessible and affordable access to mental health services and together, we can make that a reality. If everyone who reads this essay signs up as a Field Advocate and shares their voice, we can rally greater support for suicide prevention.