Skip to Content

Press Releases

Napolitano Welcomes Reps. Don Beyer and Andrea Salinas as New Mental Health Caucus Co-Chairs

Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-31) welcomed Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA-08) and Andrea Salinas (D-OR-06) as new Co-Chairs of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus.

"I am thrilled to announce Congressman Beyer and Congresswoman Salinas have agreed to serve as Co-Chairs of our Mental Health Caucus,” Napolitano said. “We have made great strides as a Caucus for nearly two decades, and I look forward to our continued work to reduce the stigma associated with mental health, raise the visibility for mental health reforms, and find solutions to improve mental health care and delivery of services to all in need. I know the future of the Mental Health Caucus is in good hands with Reps. Beyer and Salinas, and I am so very grateful to each of them for their willingness to lead.”

Two out of five adults report symptoms of anxiety or depression, and suicide is among the leading causes of death in the U.S.,” said Rep. Beyer. “The ongoing mental health crisis affects all of us – our families, our friends, and our neighbors – irrespective of age, background, or profession, and there is more we can do in Congress to address this crisis. I’m honored to join Congresswomen Napolitano and Salinas as co-chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, and I look forward to building upon the Caucus’ efforts to address this pressing issue. Everyone deserves access to quality mental health care and the support they need to lead healthy, fulfilling lives – and our work will seek to accomplish that.”

“Throughout her career, Congresswoman Napolitano has been a leading voice in the fight to raise awareness and improve access to mental health care in America,” said Rep. Salinas. “With that in mind, I am so grateful that Congresswoman Napolitano has asked me to serve as Co-Chair of the bipartisan Mental Health Caucus and to carry on her legacy. This is a great honor and a responsibility I do not take lightly. Addressing the mental health crisis is one of my top priorities, and I look forward to continuing that important work in this new leadership role."

Rep. Beyer is a Co-Chair of the Mental Health Caucus’ Suicide Prevention Task Force and author of H.R. 3759, the Barriers to Suicide Act, which requires the Department of Transportation to establish a program to facilitate the installation of evidence-based suicide deterrents on bridges, including suicide prevention nets and barriers. In October 2020, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, on which he serves as the Senior House Democrat, released a report on How the Coronavirus Is Worsening America’s Mental Health Crisis, which helped to provide Members of Congress with an understanding of the mental health challenges associated with the pandemic. Congressman Beyer also leads an annual appropriations letter on bipartisan suicide prevention programs, which supports funding for 988, and suicide prevention programs at the CDC and SAMHSA.

Rep. Salinas has introduced several bills to improve access to mental health care. Notably, she introduced the HOPE and Mental Wellbeing Act, which would provide three free behavioral health visits per year for Medicare and Medicaid recipients, as well as two bills that would expand access to peer support programs for mental health and substance use issues. In February 2023, Rep. Salinas announced her Mental Health Monday initiative, a weekly program that shines a spotlight on mental health. Through floor speeches, social media posts, and messages sent directly to Oregonians, Rep. Salinas is working to ensure that mental health remains part of the national dialogue–and a top priority for Congress. She is also a co-founder of the bipartisan Rural Health Caucus that seeks to address health care gaps in rural communities, especially related to mental health care.

Congresswoman Napolitano is the founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, where she promotes access to mental health for children and adolescents, improved mental health resources for veterans and seniors, and increased mental health coverage for all. After learning one in three Latina adolescents (ages 9-11) had contemplated suicide, in 2001 she secured federal funding to create a pilot program to provide on-site, culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services and suicide prevention services for students. With assistance from LA County Department of Mental Health, her successful program, which began in four schools, has now expanded to 35 schools throughout the San Gabriel Valley and Southeast LA County. It now serves as a model for H.R. 3713, the Mental Health Services for Students Act. Napolitano also works closely with the 31st District Mental Health Consortium, a dedicated group of local mental health professionals and advocates who advise the Congresswoman on public mental health policy and related issues.