Private Foundations

Currently, apart from religious congregations, total annual charitable expenditures in the United States are about $1 trillion. Depending on funding priorities, the amount of this investment should grow substantially, possibly more than double, as an unprecedented intergenerational transfer of wealth is predicted to occur between 1998 and 2052 (Fleishman, 2007). This will provide an opportunity to increase research for prevention of MEB disorders, especially if foundation boards are educated about the social and economic costs of mental disorders at a time when the United States needs a strong and productive workforce. Some private foundations already support preventive services and research related to mental, emotional, and behavioral problems among young people. Information on the amount of this investment is unavailable, but it is likely to be modest.9

Preventive Services Funding

There are no current estimates of overall national spending on preventive services. The most recent estimate concluded that in 1995 federal agencies contributed $1.8 billion, state Medicaid contributed $1.3 billion, and employee assistance/wellness programs contributed $1.2 billion toward the prevention of mental illness (Harwood, Ameen, et al., 2000). This would translate to $5.9 billion in 2007 dollars.

Federal Investments

Similar to the situation at the time of the 1994 IOM report, multiple federal agencies fund programs and services related to the prevention of MEB disorders. Although few are directly targeted to this task, there are many more federal efforts to encourage prevention and promotion activities than was the case in 1994, particularly activities targeted to mental health activities in schools.

The lead federal agency and largest funder of prevention of mental health disorders and substance abuse is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Within SAMHSA, this falls to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), primarily through its Division of Prevention, Traumatic Stress and Special Programs. Unlike CSAP, which has the


The Child Mental Health Foundations and Agencies Network, a group of public and private agencies and foundations interested in issues of child development and public policy, aims to improve connections between research, practice, and policy. A request was submitted to its members for information on relevant activities, but none was received in time for consideration in this report.

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