Issue Background

2016 Victories for Psychology and a Look Ahead to 2017

As 2016 comes to a close, we would like to thank you for advocating on behalf of psychology on a range of education, public health, science and public interest issues. Through APA's Federal Action Network (FAN), you and your colleagues sent Congress more than 34,400 messages in 2016. Your efforts have made a significant contribution to addressing health disparities and advancing psychology's advocacy agenda.


Some highlights include:

  • More than 800 advocates sent 2,600 messages to Congress in support of increased funding for the Graduate Psychology Education Program for the 2017 federal fiscal year. In December, Congress extended the current funding ($8.9 million) until April of 2017.
  • With over 20,000 constituent messages to Congress sent through FAN, mental health reform was passed as part of the 21st Century Cures Act and signed into law on December 13th, 2016. This law also includes important provisions to promote access to postpartum depression screening and treatment and to address mental health and substance use issues in the criminal justice system.
  • After psychologists responded to two action alerts on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) this year, the legislation passed marking the first major reform of our nation's substance abuse policies in more than a generation.
  • In response to the Orlando shooting tragedy at Pulse nightclub, nearly 1,600 advocates sent 5,200 messages to Congress calling for common sense gun measures, including background checks for all firearm purchases, and providing funding to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to research prevention strategies for gun violence.
  • Many of you took action on our advocacy alert regarding the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act of 2016, which the House subsequently passed. This legislation represents meaningful reform for juvenile justice, reflecting APA priorities such as using evidence-based mental health screening, assessment and treatment, creating grants for local bodies to evaluate community needs, and providing additional protections for status offenders.

With the new Congress convening January 3rd focused on repealing the Affordable Care Act and reducing discretionary spending, APA is already engaged in efforts to protect access to health care and psychological services, promote health equity and support funding for critical public health, workforce, and research programs. We need your engagement now more than ever. Thank you for your continued support and happy holidays from your APA advocacy team!