March 2, 2022 – HHS Secretary Becerra will work with partners and elected officials across the country to address the nation’s mental health and behavioral health crises, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra kicked off the National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health in an effort to hear directly from Americans across the country about the behavioral health challenges they’re facing and engage with local elected officials and leaders to strengthen the mental health and crisis care system in our communities.
“The pandemic has not only taken a physical toll on all of us, but also brought on greater behavioral health challenges for everyone,” said Secretary Becerra. “From small towns to big cities, I’ll be traveling nationwide with members of my leadership team to meet with people who have been hit particularly hard, and partnering with local leaders to find ways to save lives in our communities. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to deliver on our promise to build back better – and healthier.”
As President Biden launches a whole-of-government strategy to transform mental health services for all Americans, Secretary Becerra is leading HHS to address the mental health challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including substance use, youth mental health, and suicide. Building on work that agencies and offices across the Department have already been doing, Secretary Becerra and HHS leaders will hit the road in a concerted effort to deliver on the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities to tackle these challenges.
Over the next few months, Secretary Becerra will make announcements on new initiatives and various resources provided by HHS, such as increasing the number of behavioral health professionals and community and behavioral health support workers in underserved and under-resourced communities, expanding pediatric mental health care access through telehealth services, and the transition to 988: America’s Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Through meetings with partners, local leaders, and elected officials across the country, the Secretary will highlight the work HHS is doing and also take time to listen and gather ideas about ways to partner with states and communities to strengthen mental health services, and what more the Department can do.