National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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Federal Budget for Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the lead agency providing targeted funding for states to implement proven and effective services for individuals with substance use or mental health conditions. These programs reduce expensive hospitalizations, emergency department usage, and involvement with the criminal justice system. Access to behavioral health services is key to improving Americans’ health and containing U.S. healthcare costs.

To see the National Council’s chart comparing 3-year funding levels for selected SAMHSA, NIH and criminal justice programs, please click here.



Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant

The SAPT Block Grant remains the foundation of the publicly supported substance use prevention and treatment system, serving 2.5 million people in every state and territory every year. Continued strong federal support through the SAPT Block Grant is critically important given that nearly 90 percent of people with a substance use disorder do not receive treatment for their condition. Strong SAPT Block Grant funding is essential to effectively preventing youth alcohol and drug use, treating substance use disorders, and providing recovery supports to help people stay well over their lifetime.

>> SAPT Block Grant funding for FY 2015: $1.819 billion


Mental Health Block Grant

Services funded by the Mental Health Block Grant include supported employment, supported housing, rehabilitation services, crisis stabilization, peer specialist and consumer-directed services, wraparound services for children and families, jail diversion programs, and services for special populations (people who are homeless, live in rural and frontier areas, and military families). The majority of these services are currently not broadly covered under private insurance and Medicaid.

The Mental Health Block Grant also includes a five percent set-aside to focus on evidence-based practices to address the needs of individuals with early serious mental illness.

>> Mental Health Block Grant funding for FY 2015: $483.7 million


Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration

The PBHCI program supports community behavioral health and primary care organizations that partner to provide essential primary care services to adults with serious mental illnesses. Because of this program, more than 33,000 people with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders are screened and treated at 100 grantee sites for diabetes, heart disease, and other common and deadly illnesses in an effort to stem the alarming early death rate from these health conditions in this population. Essential to the success of PBHCI is the technical assistance offered by the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions (CIHS), funded by SAMHSA as “Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration TA.” Services provided by CIHS support rapid and successful implementation of grant activities – but technical assistance funding has not kept pace with the steadily growing number of grantees.

>> PBHCI funding for FY 2015: $50 million

>> PBHCI-TA funding for FY 2015: $1.99 million


Mental Health First Aid

Each year, more than one in five Americans will experience a substance use or mental health condition. Yet, as a society, our lack of awareness about these conditions – and the available community resources – often prevent people from getting appropriate treatment and support. Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that helps participants identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use. The course teaches a 5-step action plan to reach out to a person in crisis and connect them with help. Mental Health First Aid funding appropriated in the 2014 budget will be used to support training activities for local and state education agencies, an important audience and one that should be expanded in future years’ appropriations.

>> Mental Health First Aid funding for FY 2015: $15 million



Mental Health and Addictions Research

Scientific advances have led to astounding discoveries about the nature of the brain and the roots of behavioral health disorders. Continued investments in basic scientific and applied research will aid in developing rapid, effective treatments that target the core pathophysiology of these conditions, while new diagnostic markers will facilitate early identification and intervention. National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have the research tools they need – but Institutes must have sufficient funding resources to realize this ambitious vision of finding cures to these disabling illnesses. President Obama proposed restoring the sequester cuts to vital research programs, a move that would restore the capacity of NIDA and NIMH to fund new and competing grants.

>> Overall NIH funding for FY 2015: $30 billion

>> National Institutes of Mental Health funding for FY 2015: $1.463 billion

>> National Institutes on Drug Abuse funding for FY 2015: $1.028 billion

>> National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism funding for FY 2015: $447.4 million



Second Chance Act

First enacted in 2008, the Second Chance Act established grants for government agencies and nonprofits to provide services that reduce recidivism by improving outcomes for people returning from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. Since its implementation, states have used Second Chance Act funding to expand and improve community-based treatment and diversion programs. With approximately 700,000 individuals released from federal and state prisons each year, including nearly half with at least one mental health or substance use illness, the National Council supports the reauthorization of this successful program.

>> Second Chance Act funding for FY 2015: $68 million



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