Top 10 County Policy Priorities for Behavioral Health Reform
County Behavioral Health Landscape
America’s 3,069 counties are integral to America’s behavioral health system. Counties annually invest $83 billion in community health systems, including behavioral health services. Through 750 behavioral health authorities and community providers, county governments plan and operate community-based services for persons with mental illnesses and substance use conditions. County-based behavioral health systems exist in 23 states that represent 75 percent of the U.S. population.
NACo Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing
Launched in February 2023, the NACo Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing brings together county leaders from across the nation to take action to address the ever-growing mental health crisis from the county government perspective.
In early December, the Senate introduced the Local 9-8-8 Response Act of 2023. This bipartisan bill, introduced by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), aims to enhance mental health crisis response through the 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
In 2018, Congress passed the Substance-Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act. On September 30, many policy provisions in the original package expired, requiring congressional reauthorization to continue these critical programs among a worsening overdose crisis.
Every other week, NACo’s County Countdown reviews top federal policy advocacy items with an eye towards counties and the intergovernmental partnership. In this week’s edition – our last County Countdown of the year – we are looking ahead to 2024, and some of the top policy issues for counties.