Shortly before the 117th Congress was sworn in on Jan. 3rd, the 116th Congress completed their final legislative work: a comprehensive fiscal year 2021 spending deal and a COVID-19 relief package, all rolled into one piece of legislation. Congress had been operating on a series of short-term continuing resolutions since funding initially ran out at the end of September. Many disagreements regarding regular spending, new COVID-19 relief measures, and political issues held up the process for several months.
Despite these challenges, NBCC’s Government & Legislative Affairs team was able to secure funding increases for many of our priority federal programs:
SAMHSA’s Minority Fellowship Program, which provides scholarships for minority mental health professionals who go on to work in culturally underserved areas, saw an increase of $2 million, bringing the total FY 2021 funding for the program to $16,169,000.
HRSA’s Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program, which provides grants to accredited institutions providing education in a mental health field, including graduate schools of mental health counseling, received an additional $10 million, coming to a total of $112 million.
The Substance Use Disorder Loan Repayment Program was funded at $16 million, an increase of $4 million.
NBCC’s Government & Legislative Affairs team, working collaboratively with our partners, was pleased to see substantial funding increases for these important programs. The additional funding will allow more mental health counselors to enter the workforce and strengthen the profession. We will continue to push for increased funding for these programs in FY 2022 and beyond.