A Deja Vu Vision for America’s Mental Well-Being


Have we seen this vision of mental health before?

Alessandro Grandini/AdobeStock

Alessandro Grandini/AdobeStock


“It’s deja vu all over again.” - Yogi Berra

Have you seen the white paper on a new vision for mental health that was a bipartisan release on September 9, 2021 by US Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) and John Cornyn (R-Texas)? I just did, informed of it by a colleague in Houston, who in turn received it from NAMI Greater Houston. Just in case you missed it, too, it is called “A Bold Vision for America’s Mental Well-Being.”1 They even asked for public feedback, but the deadline for that was October 8th. Perhaps it got less attention due to the timing of being so close to the 20th anniversary of 9/11/01.

Where the process is leading to seems unclear right now. Nevertheless, there is a lot to like about their vision. In fact, for those who were working in the federally funded Community Mental Health Centers before 1980, as I was, you might see a lot of similarities. At that time, in 1980, President Reagan put the funds into block grants, effectively dismantling the federal system, fragmenting our public mental health care, and reducing the federal funding of mental health care.

Certainly, the time for such a development is here, as our country’s mental health has continued to worsen over pandemic times. Some of their recommendations include: improving how federal funds are allocated; innovation by local communities; a humility-based cultural approach; and continual reevaluation in a feedback loop between the people and the government.

Shouldn’t we be supporting this vision? If you have more knowledge about this vision, please let us know.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric TimesTM.


1. Bennet M, Cornyn J. A bold vision for America’s mental well-being: it’s time to redesign the U.S. mental & behavioral health system. September 9, 2021. Accessed December 9, 2021. https://www.bennet.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/c/8/c8ba4ffb-767d-42e1-be43-b52c8b880f72/F3BEE92B01EC1761A5C539A5B3B56CB0.a-bold-vision-for-america-s-mental-well-being-final.pdf

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