This budget proposal channels critical funds to improve and expand 988 chat and text infrastructure, strengthen broadband support and data collection, strengthen and establish mobile crisis outreach, facilitate connections between 988 and 911 services, better support underfunded call centers, staff to track-up services, and increase call center staff training. Ensuring that everyone in the country, regardless of their physical location or economic background, has equitable access to support during a mental health crisis is integral to creating a comprehensive and effective mental health response system. behavioral health crises, and these investments in the NSPL will lay the foundation for such a system.
The President’s budget proposal also includes $22 million in funding for the CDC’s comprehensive suicide prevention program, an increase of $2 million beginning in fiscal year 2022. This important program uses data and assessments to inform and support important suicide prevention efforts and programs across the county. The dedicated funds will also allow the CDC to continue its grant programs within communities whose populations are at higher risk of suicide in 11 states, so that prevention programs can be expanded across the country. In addition to gaining critical insights into prevention models for at-risk populations, this funding for the Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Program will help the CDC collect data faster, ultimately ensuring resources are distributed appropriately. quickly and that those at risk can receive the care they need.
The AFSP also welcomes the inclusion of $1.7 billion in funding the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) program, an increase of $895 million beginning in fiscal year 2022. This vital program provides nationwide community support to adults with serious mental illnesses and children with severe emotional disorders. We are grateful that the President’s budget increases the MHBG program reserve for crisis care from 5% to 10%, which will help the state expand needed crisis systems. We are also grateful for the inclusion of a new 10% reserve to support early intervention and mental health prevention programs for at-risk youth and adults. Finally, we support the President’s continuation of an existing 10% reserve for evidence-based programs that address the needs of people with early onset serious mental illness. Maintaining these funds helps prevent deterioration of functioning in people experiencing a first episode of serious mental illness.
In total, President Biden’s budget includes $51.7 billion Mandatory new investments over the next 10 years to expand access to mental health services. These include a $7.5 billion investment in a new Mental Health Transformation Fund; $4.1 billion permanently extending funding for community mental health centres; $1.2 billion spending to strengthen consumer protection and improve access to behavioral health services in the private insurance market; $3.5 billion improving mental health coverage in Medicare, including implementing the Mental Health Parity Act and Medicare Dependency Equity; and $35.4 billion to improve access to mental health in Medicaid.
These historic investments come at a time of crisis United States. The pandemic has led to increased reports of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, particularly among youth and young adults, caregivers, frontline workers, LGBTQ people, and minority communities. President Biden’s budget is an essential step in addressing this mental health crisis and will strengthen communities across the country.
The initiatives included in the President’s budget are part of the AFSP Project 2025a national, partnership-driven initiative to reduce the annual suicide rate in the United States by 20% by 2025. While new data from the CDC shows that the suicide rate decreased by 3% between 2019 and 2020, we do not yet have an understanding of the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and suicide and we must continue to create programs, support research and advance policies that contribute to a decrease in suicide.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, including those who have had a loss. The AFSP creates a smart mental health culture through educational and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and whose head office is at new Yorkwith an advocacy office at washington d.c., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with nationwide programs and events. Learn more about the AFSP in its latest annual report and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following the AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention