National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Details on Mental Illness Research and Services Funding Proposed for FY '08

July 18, 2007

HR 3043 and the companion Senate appropriations bill S 1710 include FY 2008 funding for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  Both bills have cleared the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and are awaiting action by the full House and Senate. 

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

The Senate bill (S 1710) proposes $1.436 billion for research funding at the NIMH, which is more than $32.4 million above FY 2007 and $31 million above the President’s FY 2008 request.  The House bill (HR 3043) proposes $1.425 billion for NIMH. 

Between 2003 and 2006, the annual number of research funding grants by the National Institute of Health (NIH), which includes the NIMH, dropped by more than 10%.  While Congress has begun to address this downward trend, the proposed increases are still below the amount needed to bring NIH and NIMH back up to FY 2005 levels, adjusted for medical research inflation (6.7%). 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

HR 3043 and S 1710 both restore proposed cuts to SAMHSA and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS).  The Senate bill is $39.2 million above current levels for CMHS; the House bill $21.9 million.  This includes:

  1. Mental Health Block Grant – Funded at $441.3 million in both bills, which is $13 million above the FY 2007 level.
  2. PATH – Both bills fund the PATH program (state grants for outreach and engagement of homeless individuals with mental illness) at the current level of $54.3 million.
  3. Childrens’ Mental Health – Both bills maintain the program at the current level of $104.1 million.
  4. Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention – The Senate bill boosts suicide prevention funding by $3.9 million, to $40 million.The House bill includes $37.2 million.
  5. Protection & Advocacy – The Senate bill increases funding for the PAIMI program by $5 million, up to $39 million.The House proposes a freeze at $34 million.The Senate bill specifically directs that this $5 million increase be directed to P&A programs to improve conditions for people with mental illness in jails and correctional facilities and promote prevention and jail diversion programs.
  6. Jail Diversion – Both bills include $6.93 million for jail diversion grants, which is the same as FY 2007 funding and $3 million more than the President’s request.

Both the House and Senate bills include restoration of $34 million in reductions in the President’s budget for a range of programs at CMHS, including state incentive grants (the Administration was proposing to end existing Mental Health Transformation Grants at the end of their two year cycle), youth violence prevention and elderly services.  In the case of state incentive grants, the Administration was proposing to end existing Mental Health Transformation Grants at the end of their two year cycle.

Department of Justice Appropriations Act (S 1745)

Senate bill 1745, an appropriations bill funding the Department of Justice includes $10 million for programs under the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA, P.L. 108-414), including pre-booking diversion, training of law enforcement and post sentence re-entry.  NAMI is extremely grateful to Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) for supporting inclusion of MIOTCRA funding for FY 2008.

Social Security Administration (SSA)

The Social Security Administration is struggling to cope with an unprecedented backlog of disability appeals.  It is estimated that 738,000 cases are awaiting hearings, with an average wait time of 505 days. 

For FY 2008, the Senate bill includes a $125 million increase directed to clearing the backlog in disability claims, while the House bill includes an increase of $100 million above the President’s request.  While overdue, it is unclear whether these increases will be sufficient to address the current backlog.