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NAMI Celebrates Mental Health Victories In Federal Funding Bill

FY18 Funding Signals Greater Investment in Services for Individuals with Mental Illness & Families 
Mar 22 2018

Following the release of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 federal appropriations package, NAMI is extremely grateful for the increased investments in mental health services and supports. By including significant funding increases for these programs, Congress has taken a crucial step to support individuals with mental illness and their families.

The bill substantially boosts several of NAMI’s key priorities. It includes significant investments in research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), to the Mental Health Block Grant and to key programs at the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and Justice. These substantial investments signal a commitment by members of Congress to increasing federal support for individuals living with mental illness.

“I applaud Congressional leaders for taking concrete actions to fund critical mental health priorities,” said Mary Giliberti, Chief Executive Officer of NAMI. “This appropriations package invests in key programs for individuals with mental illness, supports important evidence-based services in our communities and promotes research that could result in significant scientific advancements that foster improvements in treatment and recovery for people with mental illness.”

NAMI would like to highlight key areas that will impact people with mental illness and their families:

Investing in Services: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will receive an increase of nearly $306 million for mental health programs. The package also increases the Community Mental Health Block Grant (MHBG) by $160 million, the largest single-year increase in the MHBG’s history. This funding increase will also ensure more federal support for programs that provide early intervention in the treatment of psychosis and other mental illnesses.

Investing in Research: NIMH will receive a $109.8 million increase, the largest single-year increase for NIMH since its budget was doubled in FY 2002. Overall, the National Institutes of Health will see a $3 billion increase in its funding.

Investing in Housing: The package includes substantial increases for programs that support non-elderly individuals with disabilities, enable the construction of new Project-Based Rental Assistance units and allow for the development of new Permanent Supportive Housing for individuals that are experiencing homelessness. It also provides funding to assist homeless and at-risk veterans into permanent supportive housing.

Investing in our Veterans: There are major investments in programs for veterans who live with mental health conditions and veterans in crisis. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Mental Health Services and Programs will receive a $580 million increase, including for Vet Centers, which provide mental health and readjustment counseling for combat veterans, and the National Centers for PTSD. The package also increases the investment in veteran suicide prevention programs and outreach, and includes the Honor Our Commitment Act, which requires the VA to provide mental and behavioral health care to hundreds of thousands of veterans who received other-than honorable discharges.

Investing in Jail Diversion and Reentry: The Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) will receive an $18 million increase – its most significant increase ever – to support efforts that promote collaboration between the justice and mental health systems. Veterans Treatment Courts will receive a $13 million increase to assist veterans with mental health and substance abuse conditions with early intervention and treatment rather than punishment. Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions, will see a $12 million increase.

NAMI is appreciative of the efforts of Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Jon Tester (D-MT), and Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and David Price (D-NC).

“NAMI is grateful to leaders in the House and Senate for their recognition and dedication to supporting these important programs,” Giliberti stated. “While we celebrate these increases in funding, we will continue working with our federal partners to achieve additional investments for mental health research and services in the future.”

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