APA Applauds House Passage of Funding Provisions for Mental Health Needs and Urges the Senate to Take Action

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 31, 2020 – The American Psychiatric Association (APA) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education FY2021 appropriations bill that includes much needed funding for mental health care and medical research. The bill, which includes a total of $96.4 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, was part of a seven-bill spending package (HR 7617). Among the provisions supported by the APA are:

  • A total of $6 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an increase of more than $100 million over the previous fiscal year for mental health and substance use-related programs. The APA effectively worked with mental health partners resulting in a $35 million increase to the SAMHSA budget to improve mental health crisis systems and suicide prevention at the state and local level, including $25 million for a national suicide prevention lifeline.
  • A total of $8 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an increase of over $250 million from the previous fiscal year. The CDC budget includes $30 million for firearm injury and mortality prevention research. The National Institutes of Health also would receive $25 million for such research.
  • A total of $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.
  • An increase of over 40 percent for funding for the loan repayment program for the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Workforce Program through the Health Resources and Service Administration.
  • A total of $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 increases.

“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. “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: “The 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.”

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,800 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org.

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