Last month, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) announced it has joined Mental Health for US, a coalition working to ensure that improving treatment for mental health and addiction is a top priority during the 2020 election.
“Social workers are on the front lines of responding to our nation’s mental health crisis,” said former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, co-chair of the coalition. “They play a critical role in facilitating care, protecting children, supporting families in their time of need, and addressing social determinants of health—all of which are key tenets of the Mental Health for US platform. We are honored to have NASW join the coalition.”
Mental issues and substance use disorders affect millions of Americans. Each year, one in five adults in our nation experience mental illness. Further, suicide is now the second leading cause of death among people age 10-34 in the United States. Approximately 1.7 million people in the U.S. suffer from substance use disorders, while more than 130 people die from drug overdose each day.
The coalition is calling for effective treatment of addiction disorders, increased funding and system reforms to improve access to treatment, including interventions to prevent deaths from suicide and overdose.
“NASW maintains its commitment to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people, with special attention to empowerment of those who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty,” said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. “In joining this important coalition, we are promoting social justice and social change that will improve health and ultimately lift society”
“Social workers account for the largest group of mental health care providers in the nation and are playing a crucial role in helping to address the opioid addiction crisis,” said NASW Policy Director Sarah Butts, LMSW. “We are delighted to join forces with the other organizations in this much-needed coalition to ensure that treatment for mental health and addiction disorders is a key priority for lawmakers. We are eager to hear how candidates will improve access to mental health and addiction services, if they are elected.”