Friday, July 30, 2021

House Passes Bills to Boost Funding for Mental Health, Substance Use Programs

Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives approved significant funding increases for key mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) programs included in the FY 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies and the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bills.

The legislation increases funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) by $3.16 billion, an increase of nearly 50% over FY 2021, to $9.16 billion. The SAMHSA increase includes the following:

  • An $825 million increase to the Mental Health Services Block Grant, including a 10% set-aside for crisis services and an additional $100 million for mobile crisis response and an $89.6 million increase for the Suicide Lifeline and implementation of the 988 phone number.
  • Additional substance use treatment resources of $1.6 billion, including a 33% increase in State Opioid Response Grants.
  • $20.3 million for the Minority Fellowship Program, a 20% increase.

The bill also includes the following funding:

  • An increase of $341 million for the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) to support health workforce development, including $28 million for HRSA’s loan repayment program for the substance use disorder treatment workforce.
  • $37.5 million for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, including a specific focus on improving compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
  • $330 million for the National Institutes of Health research on health disparities, including $250,000 through the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, as well as a 25% overall increase for the National Institute on Drug Abuse and a roughly 5% increase for the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
  • $2.9 billion in additional funding for veterans mental health care, including a $286 million boost for suicide prevention outreach.

APA issued a statement thanking House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and the committee for leading the effort to provide the funding in the legislation.

“This week’s action by the House is step one in an appropriations process that needs to go through the legislative process,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “But the best way to position funding for psychiatry and mental health, including substance use, for success is for the APA administration and our members to be aggressive advocates at every step in the process. So spread the word. Our advocacy matters and is making a difference.”

(Image: iStock/flySnow)

Register Now for Mental Health Services Conference

The program for APA’s Mental Health Services Conference is now available. This virtual event will take place Thursday, October 14, and Friday, October 15. Under the theme “Sociopolitical Determinants: Practice, Policy, and Implementation,” the meeting will feature educational programs and innovations in clinical services designed to ensure equal access to high-quality mental health care for all patients regardless of race/ethnicity, age, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or geographical background. Lowest registration rates are now in effect.