Online Program

Program Funding and Mental Health: Are we funding those in need?

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 8:40 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Chandler McClellan, PhD, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Department of Health and Human Services; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD
Background: A key component of assessing the need and impact of federal grant money for mental health services is understanding where current grant money is being spent and how it matches with prevalence rates of mental illness.  Areas with higher prevalence of mental illness should be expected to receive higher levels of grant funding.  By examining the current distribution of grant dollars, sub-state county groups that have high need, but are not receiving grants can be identified.  Additionally, county groups that are receiving a disproportionate amount of grant dollars can be examined to determine if funds are being inefficiently distributed. 

Methods: Using data on discretionary grants funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, this study examines the geographic distribution of grant dollars for mental health programming and services. These distributions are then compared with the distribution of need as measured by sub-state prevalence of major depressive disorders, any mental illness, and serious mental illness obtained from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) sub-state estimates based on three years of combined data released in 2010 and 2012. 

Results: Conditional on prevailing mental illness rates, a number of sub-state areas are shown to receive a larger than expected share of grant dollars.

Conclusion: Factors other than mental health prevalence play a role in the distribution of mental health discretionary grant funds. 

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Provision of health care to the public
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relationship between mental illness prevalence and grant distribution. Explain how GIS analysis can be used to examine the spatial relationship between factors.

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: One of my primary areas of investigation in public policy is the distribution of federal grants for behavioral health. I am a member of the Health Economics and Financing Team with SAMHSA and am tasked with analyzing the Administration's grant programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.