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The Alignment for Progress is an action-oriented movement combining vision, commitment, and investment with the goal of redirecting the future of careJoin Us
Open a newspaper, watch television or spend any time on social media: a topic on many people’s minds is concern about mental health and substance use. That’s why it’s time for a meaningful national conversation about these issues. And more than simply talk: it’s time to remove the barriers to equitable and available coverage for these conditions so people can get the help they need. Because we know the barriers are a lack of aligned action, not a lack of will, and certainly not a lack of need.
In fact, we find ourselves in a critical moment of need—and of opportunity. In the aftermath of a global pandemic and amid ongoing economic uncertainty, the United States is experiencing an unprecedented mental health and substance use crisis. Drug addiction and deaths by overdose are increasing year over year. Suicide attempts and ideation are at emergency levels among teens and younger adults. Older Americans report greater feelings of loneliness than at any other time in history. The numbers of citizens experiencing houselessness has risen since the years before Covid—both a cause and an effect of mental health distress. The evidence is clear: The current system of mental health and substance use care is not working. And it’s costing the country more in lost productivity, downstream medical costs and shortened lives than better care will cost.
Better coverage for mental health and substance doesn’t have to impact the bottom line—of the nation, of employers, of insurance companies, or of those seeking care. Payment models exist that ensure costs are kept within reasonable limits, are shared among parties and across the system and return more to the economy in the form of increased productivity than they take away. And measuring outcomes is an integral part of ensuring that spending is on care that works and improves peoples’ lives
“As it stands, says Kennedy, “We’re all siloed: by diagnoses, by trade association, by our own interests. But whether it's reducing eating disorders, overdoses, suicides and suicide ideation, addiction, anxiety, incarceration, major depressive disorders—it all takes the same set of investments.”
The will to change our system of care exists. That’s why we’re calling, urgently, for an Alignment for Progress—an action-oriented coming together of vision, commitment, and investment with the goal of redirecting the future of care. Our work will be aimed at clearing paths to parity; furthering the advancement of evidence-based practices, politics, and programming; and overseeing a measurable movement towards population-level progress and change.
”What we need is a return of the sort of big picture thinking JFK relied on when he signed the Community Mental Health Act, not to mention when he dreamed of putting a man on the moon. And we need to work together. Instead of being siloed by thinking that our own particular issue has a certain set of needs,” says Kennedy, “we need to recognize that we’re all going to be advanced by working towards the same set of principles.”