Entries in Budget (2)


Obama Budget Includes $235 Million For Mental Health Care

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is asking for $235 million as part of his new budget proposal to fund mental health initiatives. Of the funds, $130 million will be used to train teachers and others to identify signs of mental illness in students and provide them with access to treatment.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius wrote in a blog on her agency's website Tuesday that the funds include $205 million to help identify mental health problems, improve access to mental health services and support safer school environments. The plan would affect at least 8,000 schools, according to Sebelius. Another $30 million will go toward public health research on gun violence.

"We cannot ignore the fact that 60 percent of people with mental health conditions and nearly 90 percent of people with substance use disorders don't receive the care they need," Sebelius said in the post.

According to a January report, the Obama administration planned to spend $50 million to fund Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education), which would train teachers to identify signs of mental illness or provide "Mental Health First Aid" and ensure that students have access to mental health care. According to the report, Project AWARE would reach 750,000 young people.

Another $50 million would go to training 5,000 people to become mental health experts at the master's level to help alleviate the shortage of mental health professionals. The funds would also support state-based strategies aimed at helping those between the ages of 16 and 25 get access to and navigate behavioral treatment programs.

Mental health experts say it is vital to treat mental illnesses as early as possible. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, half of all lifetime cases of mental illness can be diagnosed by age 14 and approximately three-quarters of these cases are diagnosed by age 24.

Dr. Paramjit Joshi, chair of Behavioral Health at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C., says that on average, eight years pass between a person showing signs of mental illness and being diagnosed with a disease. She says if children and teens are diagnosed early, they are less likely to drop out of school or turn to substance abuse.

"Like other illnesses, if you can catch this early, the benefits are monumental," said Joshi. "Children spend the majority of their day in the school setting. I think it will be wonderful for teachers to be better prepared and be aware what are signs and symptoms of these conditions early and refer them for appropriate services."

By centering the initiative in schools throughout the country, Joshi says it could also help make mental illness a less taboo topic.

"I think I also there's a lot of stigma attached to mental illness, if there is service provided in that school it puts a dent in that stigma," said Joshi. "It would be great if mental health is incorporated into overall health of the child."

Mel Riddile, associate director for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, says in order for these initiatives to work they need to be more than just short training sessions.

Riddile says it's important schools have relationships with parents and the local mental health care system so that teachers and school officials feel there is someone that can help them if they have concerns about a student.

"When people have nobody to talk to, they won't ask the question if they don't think they're going to get [help]," said Riddile. "It's a matter of creating a network, where when issues come up they can ask a question."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


FDA Aims to Invest in Foodborne Illness Prevention, Product Safety 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Monday announced plans to request a $4.3 billion budget as part of President Obama's FY 2012 budget.  The agency's request reflects a 33-percent increase over its FY 2010 budget and is intended to "protect and promote the public health."

"FDA protects and promotes the health of all Americans through every stage of life," Margaret Hamburg, M.D., commissioner of food and drugs, said in a statement. "The breadth of the mandate means that FDA responsibilities continue to grow. The new budget contains new resources so that FDA can fulfill its growing responsibilities to the American Public."

The FDA proposed four initiatives in addition to its budget requests:

1. Transforming Food Safety and Nutrition ($324 million) -- meant to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act.

2. Advancing Medical Countermeasures ($70 million) -- for the development of medical countermeasures to chemical, biological or nuclear national security threats.

3. Protecting Patients Initiative ($124 million) -- to develop "a pathway for approving biosimilars."  Biosimilars are biological drugs that are highly similar to, but without clinically meaningful differences with, an FDA-approved reference biological product.  The FDA suggests that biosimilars can offer significant savings to both federal and private sector health care systems.

4. Regulatory Science and Facilities ($49 million) -- aimed at employing technological and scientific advancements to improve the review and approval process for products.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio