Today I’m thrilled to welcome two friends and brilliant policy leaders, Dr. Ben Miller and Dr. Kavita Patel, to explore what policies the Biden-Harris administration might undertake to redress the country’s rapidly worsening mental health and addiction crises.
America is on the brink of an unprecedented mental health pandemic. A full third of Americans have reported symptoms of clinical anxiety or depression — a 200% increase from pre-pandemic levels; rates of opioid-related deaths are increasing in more than 40 states; and mental health emergency department visits have surged, as more people struggle without the providers to support them.
In our last conversation, we learned about what it was like to treat the surge of mental health cases on the ground. Now, we discuss what an enlightened government might do to build a system capable of meeting soaring needs in the future. We consider what the administration’s foremost priorities should be, and how the bitter partisanship on Capitol Hill might thwart or inform this agenda. And we review the policy levers that leaders at the local and state levels are already pulling to break through the noise.
Ben and Kavita are the perfect people to walk us through these questions. Ben is the Chief Strategy Officer of Well Being Trust, a national foundation committed to advancing the mental, social, and spiritual health of the country. And Kavita is a primary care doctor and Vice President of Payor and Provider Integration at Johns Hopkins Medicine, as well as the former director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, under President Obama.
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