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Fountain House Applauds Congressman Ritchie Torres for Introducing the CCBHC Expansion Act



Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) introduced the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Expansion Act of 2024. The federal legislation, co-sponsored by Representative Shri Thanedar (MI-13), aims to improve community mental health services by promoting a more holistic, patient-centered approach to treatment and care.


Building off earlier bill language from last Congress, the legislation directs CCBHCs to enhance their scope of services to support people in their mental illness recovery, whether independently or in partnership with local clubhouses. This includes psychosocial rehabilitation services that advance people’s employment and educational opportunities, housing, and other holistic needs, which play a significant role in fostering recovery and wellbeing.


This is the first time clubhouse has been defined in federal bill language, importantly with the feedback and technical support of several clubhouse members living with serious mental illness, including those from Fountain House. The comprehensive definition recognizes how clubhouses, and the therapeutic social environments they provide, are uniquely positioned to address the negative symptoms of serious mental illness, like loneliness and social isolation, which medication and therapy can’t tackle alone.


As Fountain House’s newly released research shows, clubhouses are also incredibly effective at reducing the secondary costs of untreated mental illness, including lost wages, disability benefits, repeat emergency room visits, and criminal justice impacts, which saves the U.S. nearly $700 million a year. If clubhouses were expanded to reach even just 5% of the 15.4 million adults in the U.S. impacted by serious mental illness, the net societal benefit would exceed $8.5 billion annually.


“Despite the significant growth in mental health awareness in recent years, access to essential services and person-centered care models remains rooted in outdated practices,” said U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15). "Many communities — especially in the Bronx — still lack adequate and equitable access to a diverse range of mental health services. By enhancing service accessibility and broadening care options, we can enhance outcomes for individuals grappling with severe mental illness and bolster the well-being of entire communities. This legislation aims to widen access to these critical services, ensuring that individuals in need of essential mental health support are not left behind. I commend the relentless efforts of Fountain House Bronx in championing holistic mental health care that truly saves lives within our community.”


“We applaud Congressmen Torres for introducing the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion Act of 2024 in partnership with people most impacted by serious mental illness, including Fountain House’s members and with Clubhouse International,” said Ken Zimmerman, CEO of Fountain House. “By recognizing and incorporating psychosocial services as integral tools for recovery, this legislation addresses critical gaps in our mental health infrastructure that have, for too long, relied solely on clinical care. As local clubhouses are leveraged for their expertise, we hope it will ultimately create a more comprehensive and coherent mental health ecosystem that can meet people where they’re at and more meaningfully address the social drivers of health.”


“Expanding access to clubhouses and the social supports they provide is absolutely essential and we thank Rep. Torres and Rep. Thanedar for championing the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion Act to bring these vital resources to more people across the country,” said Shawn Guffey, member of Fountain House. “People’s lives are at stake: their ability to function, to be independent, to lead full and happy lives. We need more support from leaders at every level of government to ensure mental health is a priority that is funded and scaled.”


“We are encouraged by the expansion of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic services and applaud Congressman Torres for his leadership on this important issue,” said Joel D. Corcoran, Executive Director and CEO of Clubhouse International. “Psychosocial rehabilitation programs like Clubhouses are a medical necessity for recovery and should be a part of every comprehensive mental health service system.


We have decades of evidence demonstrating that programs offering dignity, self-determination, social inclusion, and meaningful rehabilitation opportunities truly help people living with mental illness reclaim their futures and thrive in the community.”

Several clubhouses in Fountain House’s national network, Fountain House United, who also offered technical assistance on the bill, shared their wide support for the CCBHC Expansion Act and how it would improve and integrate care.


“The community of Magnolia Clubhouse in Cleveland, Ohio, is proud to support this work and we are in great appreciation to Rep. Torres for championing psychiatric rehabilitation and the Clubhouse model as an exceptional example of what people living with mental illness need and deserve,” said Lori D’Angelo, Executive Director of Magnolia Clubhouse. “Clubhouses fill a void in the crisis-oriented system of care and offer a holistic and comprehensive approach that provides community, opportunity, and hope.”


“The CCBHC Expansion Act is a tremendous step forward for our nation’s behavioral health care,” said Kailey Fiedler-Gohlke, CEO of HERO House NW. “Highlighting the importance of the Clubhouse model as a key aspect of the continuum of care for those living with mental illness is a critical component of recovery. Isolation is the most devastating symptom of mental illness and expanding the access to models, such as the Clubhouse, can reduce and eliminate the loneliness people experience. HERO House NW’s community is proud to support this bill.”


For more information on Fountain House and how it’s supporting people living with serious mental illness through direct services, practice innovation, advocacy, and policy change, visit FountainHouse.org.


Fountain HouseFountain House is a national mental health nonprofit fighting to improve health, increase opportunity, and end social and economic isolation for people living with serious mental illness. Founded in 1948 in New York City, Fountain House originated the clubhouse model of community mental health that has been replicated more than 300 times in nearly 40 U.S. states and in 30 countries around the world.


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