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News Release

160 Organizations Urge Congress to Pass the Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act This Year!

The ITRC, supported by over 160 other national, regional, state, and local organizations that have endorsed the landmark bi-partisan Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act (CMWRA), released a letter to Congress calling for the legislation to be passed this year.

This urgently needed new legislation will expand our nation’s approach to mental health by supporting and funding community-based initiatives that use a public health approach to prevent and heal mental health, behavioral health, and psychosocial problems resulting from accelerating toxic stresses, emergencies, and disasters generated by the global climate emergency.

Click here to see the entire media release with the list of endorsing organizations.

Videos and Slides from the Sept. 21 Virtual Congressional Briefing on the landmark bi-partisan
"Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act of 2023."

Over 1,100 people registered for the briefing from all over the US and other nations.

Have Your Organization Join Over 150 National, State, and Local Other Organizations in Endorsing the Landmark Bi-Partisan “Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act of 2023”

Click here to join over 150 other national, regional, state, and local organizations in endorsing the landmark bi-partisan “Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act of 2023” (CMWRA).

The CMWRA was introduced in the US House by original co-sponsors Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). Representative Don Bacon (R-NE) and 11 other Democratic House members have now also co-sponsored the measure.  A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (CT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

The International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC)* and over 150 other national, regional, state, and local organizations strongly endorsed the landmark bi-partisan “Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act of 2023” (CMWRA) introduced in the House by co-sponsors Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Don Bacon (R-NE), Mary Peltola (D-AK) and Kathy Castor (D-FL), and by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (CT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in the Senate.

The CMWRA will, for the first time, direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund and support community initiatives nationwide that use a public health approach to strengthen the capacity for mental wellness and resilience of all residents for all types of toxic stresses, extreme weather events, emergencies, and disasters. Click here to see a summary and text of the legislation.

The CMWRA is endorsed by national organizations such as the:  National Association of State Mental Health Program Director; American Psychiatric Association; American Psychological Association; Mental Health America; National Association of Social Workers; American Public Health Association;  National Rural Health Associatio;, Children’s Environmental Health Network; the Anxiety and Depression Association of America; Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments; American Association on Health and Disability; and many others. Dozens of regional, state, and local organizations have also endorsed the legislation. Click here to see the list of the organizational endorsers

"The increasing number and severity of natural disasters and toxic stresses cost our communities dearly, taking lives and livelihoods—and the trauma felt from these disasters runs even further. Studies show that these impactful events can traumatize upwards of 40 percent of those who live in the affected area. That’s why I’m partnering with my colleagues to lead the way on this resilience building legislation that will help address our nation’s mental health crisis through grants and partnerships with local, community-based initiatives. I’ll continue to work to deliver science-based, evidence-informed solutions that benefit communities across our nation and offer a holistic response to the climate crisis."
Comment from Co-Lead Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY)​
“In 2022, more than 3 million Americans were impacted by a natural disaster. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that expands our nation’s mental health resources at the local level with community-based initiatives, ensuring that victims of natural disasters have access to critical mental health care.”
Comment from Co-Lead Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
“Environmental justice communities are bearing the brunt of compounded climate and mental health crises fueled by climate disasters that level homes, break apart communities, and leave people with visible and invisible scars. The Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act is central to our vision for a Green New Deal future that addresses not only the health of our planet but the health of our people. This legislation will give communities the resources they need to build defenses to these dual crises and ensure a healthier, more sustainable future for all.”
Comment from Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)
"Prevention and healing through community-based initiatives is the cure to our nation’s current epidemic of mental health problems and to preventing future epidemics. We sincerely thank the House co-leads Representatives Tonko and Fitzpatrick and co-sponsors Reps. Bacon, Peltola, and Castor, as well as Senators Markey, Merkley, Blumenthal, and Whitehouse for introducing the landmark Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act of 2023. It will, for the first time, fund and support community initiatives that use a public health approach to strengthen the capacity of all residents for mental wellness and resilience for all types of toxic stresses, disasters, and emergencies.”
Comment from Bob Doppelt, Coordinator of the International Transformational Resilience Coalition

Please Join Over 150 Organizations in Endorsing the Federal

“Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act”!

If your organization has not already endorsed the “Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act of 2023” please do so by going here.

The bi-partisan “Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act of 2023” was introduced by US Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Don Bacon (R-NE), Mary Perlota (D-AK) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) in the House, and Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (CT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in the US Senate. 

130 national, regional, state, and local organizations have already endorsed the legislation. They range from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Mental Health America, National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association, to the Children’s Environmental Health Network, Interfaith Power and Light, Rural Health Network of SCNY, 350Eugene, Climate Psychiatry Alliance, Peace4Tarpon, and Seneca County Community Schools.

If your organization has not done so already please consider endorsing the “Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act of 2023” by going here (it should take 1-2 minutes).

The “CMWRA of 2023” will direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund and provide technical assistance to community-based ‘Resilience Coordinating Networks’ that use a public health approach to strengthen the capacity of all adults, adolescents, and young children for mental wellness and resilience for persistent overwhelming stresses, disasters, and emergencies, including those generated by the climate emergency.

In specific, the “CMWRA of 2023” will:

  • Provide ‘Planning Grants’ up to $250,000 for one year to help communities organize a broad and diverse local ‘Resilience Coordinating Network’ that will lead community efforts to implement a public health approach to mental wellness and resilience.
  • Provide ‘Program Grants’ of up to $500,000 per year for up to four years to support the implementation and continual improvement of population-level mental wellness and resilience building strategies by a local ‘Resilience Coordinating Network.’
  • Set aside 20% of the available funds for rural communities.
  • Establish a technical assistance program in CDC to assist communities in applying for a grant and support practitioners involved with Program Grants.
  • Appropriate $36,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2024 through 2028 for the “CMWRA of 2023”.
The legislative language for both the House and Senate bills, a 1 page Action Alert, and a document describing the need for the Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act of 2023 can be found at this link.

 

“In 2021 alone, more than 1 in 5 American adults experienced a diagnosed mental illness,” Congressman Tonko said. “And with more than 40 percent of Americans living in a county impacted by a major natural disaster last year, it is increasingly clear that worsening severe weather patterns are contributing to this crisis. Natural disasters bring significant upheaval and real trauma to our communities, and it is time for Congress to take action to empower those communities to respond to this growing challenge. I’m proud to lead the way on this resilience building legislation that will help address our nation’s mental health crisis through grants and partnerships with local, community-based initiatives. I’ll continue to work to deliver science-based, evidence-informed solutions that benefit communities across our region and our nation.”

Comment from Congressman Paul Tonko

"The Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act is an urgently needed new policy," said Bob Doppelt, Coordinator of the International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC). "We sincerely thank Representatives Tonko and Fitzpatrick for seeing the need and taking the initiative to begin to expand the way our nation addresses mental health and psychosocial problems by introducing legislation that will support community-based initiatives that use a public health approach to build the capacity of all residents for mental wellness and resilience all types of adversities."

Comment from Bob Doppelt, Coordinator of the International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC)

"In 2021, more than forty percent of Americans lived in a county that was impacted by a natural disaster," said Congressman Fitzpatrick. "As a result, the number of individuals who experienced a mental health problem often outweighed those with physical injuries. That is why I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation alongside my colleague, Representative Tonko, to expand our nation’s mental health care services on a local level."

Comment from Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick

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