President’s FY2018 Budget Request Slashes Support for People with Mental Illness
NAMI is dismayed by the President’s FY2018 Budget, which would slash funding for programs that deeply affect the lives of people with mental illness.
“The President’s Budget request is the single biggest threat to Medicaid and mental health care in decades,” said Mary Giliberti, CEO of NAMI. It slashes more than $600 billion from Medicaid over ten years. “Mental health care is an issue with strong bipartisan support, so we’re shocked that the President’s Budget would ravage Medicaid, the cornerstone of our public mental health system. This will devastate mental health services, especially for children and adults with the most severe mental illnesses.”
The President’s Budget carves $356 million from the National Institute on Mental Health, significantly halting life-changing research into the brain and mental illnesses. It strips nearly $400 million from mental health and substance use programs at SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, including a $116 million cut from the mental health services block grant alone. The Budget also makes significant reductions to critical housing programs, including a $25 million cut to the HUD Section 811 program, which would leave the program short of funds to renew existing rent subsidies and place current tenants at imminent risk of homelessness. The Budget would eliminate funding for new Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers for homeless veterans. The Budget also strips millions from the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act and other programs that serve people with mental illness who are involved in the criminal justice system.
“This budget will put more people with mental illness out of work, on the streets, and in our jails and emergency rooms. The cost will shift to local communities and law enforcement and put untold hardship on America’s families,” said Giliberti. “We call on Congress to reject this budget and work to improve, not dismantle, our nation’s mental health care.”