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Mental Health Liaison Group Members, Parity Supporters


Kelly Snider, Chief Association Officer, American Psychotherapy Association


Positive Aging Act


June 14, 2006

Positive Aging Act of 2005 (S. 1116/H.R. 2629)

Sponsored by Senators Clinton (D-NY) and Collins (R-ME) and Representatives Kennedy (D-RI) and Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)

The Positive Aging Act of 2005 is designed to make mental health services for older adults an integral part of primary care services in community settings and to extend them to other settings where seniors reside and receive services.  The evidence-based services under this legislation will be provided by interdisciplinary teams of mental health professionals working in collaboration with other providers of health and social services.

Title I of the legislation would authorize creation of an Office of Older Adult Mental Health Services in the Administration on Aging (AoA) to develop and implement initiatives to address the mental health needs of older individuals.  AoA would also be authorized, under the Older Americans Act, to provide:

  • Grants to states for the development and testing of model mental health delivery systems utilizing evidence-based protocols for the identification and treatment of mental disorders in older adults;
  • Demonstration project grants for the provision of screening and treatment referrals for mental disorders targeted to seniors residing in rural areas;
  • Demonstration project grants to entities working in collaboration with other providers of health or social services for the provision of mental health screening and treatment services to seniors residing in naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs).

Title II amends the Public Health Service Act to create demonstration projects to be administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that would:

  • Support the integration of evidence-based mental health services by geriatric mental health specialists in primary care settings;
  • Support the establishment of community-based mental health treatment outreach teams in settings where older adults reside or receive social services.
  • Create a new position of Deputy Director for Older Adult Mental Health Services in the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) at SAMHSA;
  • Require appointment of representatives of older Americans, their families, and geriatric mental health specialists to the CMHS Advisory Council;
  • Include targeting substance abuse in older adults in SAMHSA’s projects of national significance;
  • Require state plans under Community Mental Health Services Block Grants to include descriptions of the states’ outreach to, and services for, older individuals.

Please refer to the following for sample letters (PDF Format)

pdf  MHLG Help Committee Letter

pdf  MHLG Older Americans Act Letter

pdf  MHLG Action Alert Letter


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