SAMHSA (Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act) Suicide Prevention Programs FY 08 Funding - July 2007
The Appropriations Committees in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have included funding for the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (GLSMA) programs, which are housed at SAMHSA. These three programs: State Youth Suicide Prevention; Campus Suicide Prevention and the Technical Assistance Center have made a significant difference in addressing the issue of suicide throughout the nation since being created in 2004. The APA's Education GRO office was instrumental in developing the idea for the Campus Suicide Prevention initiative, which is designed to strengthen and enhance mental and behavioral health services on college campuses. To date, under the Campus Suicide Prevention program, 55 grants have been made to institutions of higher education to increase awareness about suicide and depression. The goal of this program is “to enhance services for students with mental and behavioral health problems that can lead to school failure, such as depression, substance abuse and suicide attempts, so that students will successfully complete their studies.” Recent research has found that when students receive help for their psychological problems, counseling can have a positive impact on personal, well-being, academic success, and retention. A survey conducted by the University of Idaho Student Counseling Center found that 77% of students who responded reported that they were more likely to stay in school because of the counseling and that their school performance would have declined without counseling.
On June 21, 2007 the Senate Committee provided $30 million FY 2008 funding for the Youth Suicide Prevention grants - an increase of $12.2 million over the FY'07 level. The Campus Suicide Prevention program received $5 million - the same amount as last fiscal year's level. Finally, the Suicide Prevention Technical Assistance and Resource Center received $5 million (i.e., level funding from FY'07).
The House Committee on Appropriations passed its version of the FY'08 Labor, HHS, Education bill on July 11, 2007. The U.S. House of Representatives approved it on Wednesday, July 18th. Funding levels for the three programs are as follows:
State grants: $17.8 million; Campus Suicide Prevention grants: $4.95 million and Technical Assistance and Resource Center: $3.96 million.
The Senate must still take up this FY'08 spending bill. The differences in the funding levels will be resolved during a House-Senate conference committee.