U.S. President Biden signed a spending package of $1.5 billion. This includes billions of dollars in funding to tackle mental health and addiction problems across the country.
The bill that will fund the government till September includes the following items specifically targeting the mental health and addiction crises.
- Nearly $212 million for mental health resources for children and youth.
- This means an increase of $25 million.
- $6.5 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- $3.9 billion for substance use treatment.
- $449 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
- $50 million in increased funding for National Institutes of Health research related to opioid addiction, opioid alternatives, stimulant misuse and addiction, pain management, and addiction treatment.
- $1.6 billion for the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- $2.1 billion for the National Institute of Mental Health.
- $573.7 million for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Additionally, the bill contains policy provisions. One of these provisions gives the Food and Drug Administration authority over synthetic nicotine.
Mental health problems and addiction is rising in the U.S.
The U.S. is facing an unprecedented mental health crisis among people of all ages. And the pandemic is making matters even worse.
- Two out of five adults report symptoms of anxiety or depression.
- Black and Brown communities are disproportionately undertreated – even as their burden of mental illness has continued to rise.
- Rates of depression and anxiety were increasing even before the pandemic. The grief, trauma, and physical isolation of the last two years during the COVID-19 pandemic have driven Americans to a breaking point.
Alcohol consumption, use disorder, and dependence have increased in the U.S. during the pandemic as well. Americans are suffering under this heavy and growing alcohol burden and losing their lives to harm caused by the products and practices of the alcohol industry.
- Alcohol consumption increased by 14% in 2020 compared to 2019, as per a JAMA Network Journal study from September 2020.
- A recent study by RAND published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that alcohol use problems increased among both men and women (69% and 49% respectively).
- The rising alcohol problems have led to about a 25% increase in deaths involving alcohol in the country.
President Biden aims to tackle the mental health and addiction crisis in the U.S.
As Movendi International previously reported, U.S. President Biden aims to address these mental health issues affecting the American people in his ‘Strategy to Address the National Mental Health Crisis’.
Building on the American Rescue Plan, the National Mental Health Strategy aims to transform mental health in the U.S. in and out of care settings. The strategy has three key components:
- Strengthen system capacity,
- Connect more Americans to care, and
- Create a continuum of support.
The strategy is a part of Biden’s ‘Unity Agenda’ and Movendi International observed at least four concrete actions that tackle alcohol’s role in the U.S. mental health crisis. These four actions are:
Under connect more Americans to care:
- Integrate mental health and substance use treatment into primary care settings.
- Embed and co-locate mental health and substance use providers into community-based settings.
Under creating a continuum of support:
- Strengthen children’s privacy and ban targeted advertising for children online.
- Expand early childhood and school-based intervention services and supports.