Curbelo, Napolitano Introduce Legislation to Raise Funds for NIH Neurological Research

Curbelo Took to the House Floor to Discuss the Merits of the BRAIN Initiative and the Importance of this Legislation

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Washington, D.C., June 27, 2017 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments

Today, Representatives Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) and Grace Napolitano (CA-32) introduced the Mental Health Awareness Semipostal Stamp Act. This bipartisan legislation would help raise awareness for mental health while supporting neurological research being done by the National Institute of Mental Health’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

“Neurological and psychiatric disorders have exacted a tremendous toll on our society,” Curbelo said in a speech on the House floor earlier today. “To help accelerate this project and raise public attention to this initiative, today I introduced the Mental Health Awareness Semipostal Stamp Act with Representative Grace Napolitano to raise awareness for this important cause. Revenues generated from the sale of a specialized postage stamp would be directed to the National Institute of Mental Health to further this ambitious program that has the potential to revolutionize neurological and psychiatric care all around the world.”

“We must continue to do everything we can to reduce stigma and encourage more people to seek the lifesaving mental health care they need,” said Napolitano, Chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus. “The Mental Health Awareness Semipostal Stamp moves us toward this goal by bringing visibility to mental health and by funding critical research of mental illness, increasing our ability to prevent, detect, and treat it. I am proud to again join Congressman Curbelo in promoting increased awareness and study to ensure mental health gets the attention it needs and deserves.”

Curbelo and Napolitano previously introduced this legislation in the 114th Congress and both supported the 21st Century Cures Act, which added $1.51 billion in funding for the BRAIN Initiative.

A full transcript of Curbelo’s remarks on the floor can be found below. A video of the speech is available here.

On the House Floor, Curbelo Discusses Newly-Introduced Mental Health Awareness Semipostal Stamp Act
Washington, D.C.
June 27, 2017
https://youtu.be/1CbugyabfNk

Representative Carlos Curbelo: “Mr. Speaker, neurological and psychiatric disorders have exacted a tremendous toll on our society. Despite the great scientific strides being made daily in neuroscience research, the underlying causes of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression, and traumatic brain injury remain unsolved.  For true breakthroughs to occur, researchers require additional data to better treat these conditions.

“To address this, the previous Administration announced the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative in 2013. Known as the BRAIN Initiative, this collaborative public-private research project will advance our understanding of how the brain functions as researchers work to map the brain and study how individual cells interact in both time and space.  The data generated from this research will help scientists fill in the gaps in our current understanding and provide unprecedented opportunities for exploring how the brain enables us to record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information. This information will also provide researchers with a better understanding of mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder in hopes of better treating these diseases and reducing the number of suicides each year. I was pleased that the 21st Century Cures Act, which I supported here in the House and was signed into law, authorized $1.51 billion for this important research.

“Mr. Speaker, to help accelerate this project and raise public attention to this initiative, today I introduced the Mental Health Awareness Semipostal Stamp Act with Representative Grace Napolitano to raise awareness for this important cause. This would come at no cost to taxpayers.  Revenues generated from the sale of a specialized postage stamp would be directed to the National Institute of Mental Health to further this ambitious program that has the potential to revolutionize neurological and psychiatric care all around the world.”

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