*Originally posted on EIN Presswire on March 10, 2023.

Proposed Budget Includes Expanded Funding for 988, Mental Health Initiatives

The American Association of Suicidology (AAS), the world’s largest membership-based suicide prevention organization, applauds President Joe Biden for continuing to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget proposal. The proposal builds on the priorities he outlined in his State of the Union address and includes expanding crisis response and the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline as well as increasing the mental health workforce, and additional funding that will support those in crisis.

“Suicide prevention and mental health issues are a bipartisan national priority, and we applaud President Biden for making both a priority in his budget proposal,” noted AAS Chief Executive Officer Leeann Sherman, MPS, CAE. “As suicide rates have continued a two-year increase, the proposed increase of $334 million to ensure that the 988 and Behavioral Health Services program can effectively respond to the 9 million contacts it is estimated to receive in 2024 is an essential resource that quite literally will save lives. Ensuring that there is a trained and caring voice on the other end of the line when someone in crisis reaches out is essential to stemming this tide and getting individuals the assistance they need.”

That increase would provide a total of $836 million for the 988 and Behavioral Health Services program in FY 2024 and includes needed specialized services for Spanish speakers and LGBTQI youth as well as a national media campaign for 988.

Among the other key suicide prevention and mental health funding proposals are:
• $2.54 billion for the National Institute of Mental Health, an increase of $200 million, for research and diagnostics.
• $1.653 billion for the Community Mental Health Block Grant, an increase of $645 million, that would allow states fill gaps in mental health systems.
• $578 million to increase school-based counselors and other health professionals.
• $553 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, an increase of $168 million.
• $100 million for mobile crisis response, an increase of $80 million, that dramatically bolsters in-person response to crisis situations.
• Expansion of the types of Medicare-covered mental health providers, requiring three free mental health visits annually under Medicare and private plans, and eliminating Medicare’s 190-day lifetime limit on inpatient psychiatric hospital services.

“AAS encourages bipartisan congressional support of these necessary measures to increase our nation’s ability to support those in crisis at a time when they are most vulnerable,” Sherman noted.

About American Association of Suicidology

The American Association of Suicidology is the world’s largest membership-based suicide prevention organization. Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes the research of suicide and its prevention, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center professionals, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of laypersons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at www.suicidology.org.

Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the Media as Partners in Suicide Prevention: Suicide Reporting Recommendations for more details. For additional information, please visit SuicideReportingToolkit.com and Stanford University’s Media and Mental Health Initiative. For crisis services anywhere in the world, please visit FindAHelpline.org.

Trish Stukbauer
American Association of Suicidology
+1 980-553-1537