Mental Health Advocates Help Win Increases for Key Programs
Omnibus Includes Funding Increases for Block Grants, Prevention Programs
Mental Health America January 22, 2012
Congress passed a bill that funds the government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2012 in mid-December. The omnibus funding bill, H.R. 2055, averted another shutdown crisis and included important increases for mental health and addiction services, as well as increases for biomedical research.
HR 2055 provides a nearly $40 million increase for the Mental Health Block Grant, the first funding increase for the Block Grant in close to a decade. The bill also provides close to a $20 million increase for the Substance Abuse Block Grant. These increases are critical to the behavioral health community because they come at a time when states have cut back funding for mental health care by nearly $3.4 billion over the last 3 years.
The bill also provided a nominal increase for important research activities at the National Institutes of Health. It is worth noting that key consumer programs such as the Consumer and Family Network Grants and the Consumer TA Centers were not cut, as well as trauma-related services for children. The significant Prevention and Public Health Fund was also spared the budget-cutting scalpel.
The omnibus funding package passed the House by a vote of 296-121, with 149 Democrats and 147 Republicans supporting the measure (35 Democrats and 86 Republicans opposed it), while the Senate passed the omnibus by a vote of 67-32. Signed into law on Dec 23, P.L. 112-74.