Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
On February 17, 2023, USET SPF, joined by three partner organizations,
sent a letter to Director Shalanda Young of the Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) urging inclusion of the full authorized level of $80 million in the
President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Budget Request for the Native Behavioral
Health Resources Program as included in the Restoring Hope for Mental Health
and Well-Being Act.
The Act, which was included as part of the Consolidated
Appropriations Act of 2022, authorizes $80 million in funding for each of the
fiscal years 2023-2027 to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration (SAMHSA) to award mental health and substance use disorder prevention,
treatment and recovery services formula grants, with the possibility of
receiving funds through Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act
(ISDEAA) contracts and compacts. However, the provision has yet to be
appropriated any funds.
As Tribal Nations continue to face high rates of behavioral health
issues caused by countless factors including centuries of generational trauma
resulting from colonization and hostile acts of the U.S. government, it is
critical that we are equipped with the resources necessary to bring healing and
recovery to our communities.
To combat the opioid epidemic and the broader behavioral health
crisis in Indian Country, Tribal Nations and facilities across the Indian
Health System require flexible and substantial funding to create behavioral
health programs that are responsive to our unique circumstances. While our
original advocacy urged greater resources and flexibility, we are now
advocating for the full authorized level of $80 million for the Native
Behavioral Health Resources Program. We urge OMB to include the $80 million for
the program in the President's FY 2024 Budget Request as a first
step toward funding the program through the congressional appropriations process.
USET SPF will continue to advocate for these and
greater resources, and for broader access to federal mental health
and substance use disorder programs for Tribal Nations.
For more information, please contact Liz Malerba, USET SPF Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, at email@example.com.