Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, in the debate over the terrible acts of violence that have been committed upon innocent men, women, and children, there is frequently one common issue, that of mental health.
As we all know, the profiles of the perpetrators in many of the recent acts of mass violence had histories of mental health illness. Deaths from suicide as well obviously have significant mental health implications.
The access barriers to mental health services and the stigma associated with seeking help are significant. The safety of individuals living with these potentially disturbing behaviors, family members and surrounding communities, deserves a more robust mental health system responsive to these issues.
Now I'm proud to be the author of one of the only new laws in recent years to expand access to mental health services and reduce the stigma of seeking help. The STEP Act, or the Servicemembers' Telemedicine and E-Health Portability Act, expands access to care in a confidential manner, through telemedicine.
While the STEP Act serves only our Active Duty, Reserve and Guard, it provides a template that can be expanded to all those living with mental health issues.