Alexandria, VA – Mental Health America (MHA) applauds President Biden’s FY 2024 budget for its focus on increasing access to mental health and substance use services and commends Congress for the bipartisan ongoing commitment to improving behavioral health.
“Given the increasingly alarming data on the continued mental health and substance use crisis, the Administration and Congress must continue their bipartisan work to ensure adequate investment and expansion of access to behavioral healthcare,” said Schroeder Stribling, President and CEO of Mental Health America. “We are particularly grateful for the President’s proposals to increase funding for mental health and substance use services and the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. We are also appreciative for proposals to expand access to peer support services and advance equal coverage for mental healthcare by applying the parity law to the Medicare program.”
According to 2021 data from SAMHSA, nearly 1 in 4 adults 18 and older, and 1 in 3 adults aged 18 to 25, had a mental illness in the past year. CDC 2021 youth data also indicates tremendous ongoing need with nearly 1 in 3 teenage girls seriously considering attempting suicide—up nearly 60% from 2011. The President’s recommended investments in the mental health and substance use block grants and the new 988 hotline will be helpful in meeting this need along with a new transformational mental health fund. We also are grateful for investments in CDC to enhance a public health approach to mental health. The budget also funds school mental health professionals and a new program for college and university mental health programs.
In addition to funding, the President proposes several policy proposals that are key MHA priorities, including applying parity requirements to Medicare and adding peer support specialists to covered providers under the Medicare program. Peer support specialists are critical to taking an upstream approach to behavioral health as they can work with individuals before they are in crisis and can follow up after a crisis or hospitalization.
MHA urges the Administration and Congress to focus efforts on prevention and early intervention as well as serving those with the greatest needs. The scope of the mental health and substance use crisis requires a comprehensive early approach along with expanded treatment for those with acute needs.
Schroeder Stribling is a member of the CEO Alliance for Mental Health, a group of the leading organizations in the United States dedicated to improving the lives of people with mental health and substance use challenges. Read the CEO Alliance for Mental Health's statement on President Biden's FY 24 budget.
About Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal. Learn more at MHAnational.org.