Friday, July 31, 2020

House Passes $1.3 Trillion Spending Package, Including Funding for Major MH Initiatives

APA Urges Senate Action

Today the U.S. House of Representatives approved $96.4 billion in funding for the Department of Health and Human Services by passing the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education FY 2021 appropriations bill. The bill is part of HR 7617, a $1.3 trillion spending package that funds most federal agencies throughout the next fiscal year.

The bill includes $6 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for programs related to mental health and substance use, an increase of more than $100 million over the previous fiscal year. The impact of APA’s advocacy was evident in this increase, as the organization’s work with mental health partners resulted in a $35 million increase to the SAMHSA budget to improve mental health crisis systems and suicide prevention at the state and local levels, including $25 million for a national suicide prevention lifeline.

The bill also includes the following:
  • $8 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an increase of over $250 million from the previous fiscal year.
  • $66.95 million for the CDC Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program, a 14% increase in funding for the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP), and a request that the National Institute of Mental Health develop a 10-year strategic plan to eliminate racial mental health disparities in youth by 2030.
  • Funds for firearm injury and mortality prevention research: $30 million for the CDC and $25 million for the National Institutes of Health.
  • An increase of over 40% in funding for the loan repayment program for the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Workforce Program through the Health Resources and Services Administration.
  • $550 million for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, $1.47 billion for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and $2.06 billion for the National Institute of Mental Health, all of which represent increases from the previous fiscal year.
“We applaud the House for recognizing the critical need for funding for mental health, particularly the increased funding for suicide prevention and to address racial disparities in mental health care,” said APA President Jeffrey Geller, M.D., M.P.H., in a statement released by APA this afternoon. “The nation is struggling with a raging COVID-19 pandemic, the continued rise in suicides, racial inequities in health care, and the continued opioid epidemic—all reasons why a boost in federal funding is essential. We need a steady, long-term commitment by Congress to address these critical issues.”

APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., added, “APA urges the Senate to support and build upon these investments to our nation’s mental health. Our members and our organization stand ready to work with members on both sides of the aisle on a sustained effort to better fund our nation’s mental health care needs.”

Please Take a Few Moments to Complete APA Survey on Racism

The APA Presidential Task Force to Address Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry invites you to complete the second in a series of surveys on how racism impacts the field of psychiatry. Your answers will be anonymous. They will be used to inform the Task Force’s work and may be anonymously cited in future work. The survey is open from July 23 to August 6.