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Policy Issues

Mental Health Policy

Policy plays a big role in promoting mental health.  Policies are the rules that govern our lives, from how we pay taxes to what we are expected to wear to work.  Mental health policies are the rules that govern the parts of life that affect our mental health.  Policies have a big impact on people’s mental health.  They control how much we have to pay for treatment, what providers are available, and how our care is coordinated and supported.  Policies also control important accommodations and supports in areas like employment, housing, criminal justice, and education. 

Mental Health America takes a unique approach to policy.  MHA believes policy should ask people what they need to live the lives they want, and support them in getting there.  Recovery is founded on the principle that people can take on meaningful roles in the community in spite of mental health challenges, when they receive the support they need.  MHA’s goal is recovery for all.  There is nothing more important than allowing each individual, and those they care about, the chance to live the life they want with meaningful roles in the community.  

Policy can support this goal in several areas:

  • Access to Treatment – Policy controls who can buy insurance, how much they have to pay for treatment, and how much providers are reimbursed.  All of these influence our ability to get the treatment we need.
  • Quality and Coordination – Policy controls the training and standards for providers, what outcomes they need to show, and what information consumers can see when making decisions.  Policy also controls how providers work with one another to provide integrated and coordinated treatment.
  • Rights and Supports – Policy controls how people are treated, either by prohibiting certain actions, such as abuse or discrimination, or by requiring certain supports, such as reasonable accommodations in the workplace.  These policies can ensure that people are treated fairly as they work toward their recovery.
  • Social Determinants – Policy also controls other areas that affect people’s mental health.  This includes policies in all areas such as employment, housing, criminal justice, transportation, and education.

Mental Health America works with scientists, practitioners, policy experts, advocates, and other community leaders to advance policies that best help the most people. 

Visit our Legislative Priorities page to learn more about policies that MHA is currently working on.

Visit our Mental Health Legislation page to read about a selection of mental health bills introduced this Congress .

Visit our Regional Policy Council page to learn more about how MHA is working with policy experts from its affiliates to advance state policy.

Read our Position Statements to learn more about MHA’s stance on important policy issues.

Read The State of Mental Health in America to learn out more about the data on mental health prevalence and treatment throughout the United States that informs our policy work.

Watch our Webinars to learn more about different areas that MHA has presented on in the past.

See below for additional important policy issues.


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Action Alerts

Resources A-Z

Access to Medications

Criminal Justice

Community Transformation Grants

Cultural Competence

Federal Budget Advocacy

Health Care Reform

Health Information Technology

Integrated Care

Involuntary Outpatient Commitment


Mental Health Caucuses


Prevention and Early Intervention in Mental Health

Privacy Rights

State Budget Advocacy


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Phone (703) 684.7722

Toll Free (800) 969.6642

Fax (703) 684.5968

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