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SAMHSA FY16 Budget Press Conference

In a recent press conference, SAMSHA’s Administrator Pam Hyde announced a proposed $44.6 million increase from the FY 2015 budget. Increased funding will support some of top behavioral health priorities such as: strengthening crisis systems, prescription drug & opioid abuse, behavioral health workforce, and tribal behavioral health. Hyde referenced SAMHSA’s Theory of Change which includes four key principles that include innovation, translation, implementation, and widespread adaptation as the model upon which their plan is based.

Here are some highlights of funding changes and programmatic priorities anticipated in the FY16 budget.

$10 million additional funding was requested to support the Increasing Crisis Access Response Efforts (ICARE), where $5 million will be allocated to mental health and $5 million to substance abuse. This system will assist communities in responding to behavioral health crises and help health care providers respond appropriately and effectively.

The FY 2016 budget requests $25 million, an increase of $13 million. This increase will be used to provide grants to states to enact a new program entitled Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and improve access to services for abusers. Ten states will also receive grants to reduce opioid overdose-related deaths by helping states purchase naloxone, educating first responders, and providing materials to assemble overdose kits. An additional $10 million was requested for the Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drugs (SPF-Rx), which will provide funds to develop expertise in the use of data from state prescription drug monitoring programs to identify high risk areas.

An increase of $21 million was requested in the FY 2016 budget for the SAMHSA-HRSA Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Grant Program. In addition, $10 million will be used for a program which will award grants to provide tuition support and assist community colleges to sustain behavioral health education programs; this will result in 1,200 additional peer professionals in behavioral health workforce.

The additional funding request for FY 2016 totals $25 million for this program, with $10 million in the Mental Health appropriation and $15 million in the Substance Abuse Prevention appropriation. This additional funding will support programs that prevent substance abuse for Native youth, enhance early detection of mental and substance disorders, and promote mental health, and ultimately with the expansion, aim to reduce substance abuse and the incidence of suicide among Native youth.

The FY 2016 budget calls for a $20 million increase to provide grants to behavioral health and primary care providers to integrate substance abuse treatment services and primary care.

An additional $4 million was requested to expand this program which will provide MHFA training to those who work with veterans, military service members and their families.

$2.9 million in new money will be used to evaluate the impact of appropriate trauma screening and responses in primary care settings.

An increase of $2 million will expand support for states so they can further establish evidence-based suicide prevention efforts that support the goals and objectives of NSSP.

The White house has classified prescription drug abuse as a high priority and continues to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce this kind of abuse. It is expected further funding will be provided to this initiative. Click on the link to learn more about the ONDCP’s Drug Abuse Prevention Plan.


The White House released the Now is the Time plan that supports the President’s efforts to protect children and communities by reducing gun violence and increasing access to mental health services after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is the goal to support behavioral health in youth and help teachers and adults recognize signs of mental illness and improve referrals to health services for young people 16 to 25. Science of Changing Social Norms is a small but important initiative that will help SAMHSA understand the impact of social messaging and improve social acceptance of people with mental disorders. Additional grants will also increase the behavioral health workforce providing greater access to health professionals for at risk youth.

Some programs also experienced a reduction in funding as a result of the FY 16 budget release these programs include:

  • Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration will receive $28 million this year, a $24 million decrease.
  • Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment will receive $30 million, a $17 million decrease.
  • Criminal Justice Activities will have a budget of $61.9 million this year, a $16.1 million decrease.
  • Access to Recovery has been proposed to be eliminated in FY 16.
  • Addiction Technology Transfer Centers will be funded with $8.1 million, $1 million fewer than last year.

As a part of a new fiscal year SAMHSA will shift some funding to support prevention efforts. SAMHSA also released 6 new Strategic Initiatives for the years 2015-2018 which include:

  • Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness
  • Health Care & Health Systems Integration
  • Trauma & Justice
  • Recovery Support
  • Health Information Technology
  • Workforce Development

To view the full SAMHSA FY 2016 Budget Report follow this link. To watch the archived broadcast, visit: