On January 2, 2013, vital programs that benefit all Americans, including mental health and social service programs, will face devastating, across-the-board cuts of between 8 and 11 percent through an arcane budget tool known as "sequestration"—unless Congress acts to prevent them.
The cuts are required under The Budget Control Act of 2011, which had directed a “Super Committee” to find $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years in both defense and non-defense discretionary spending. Because the committee failed to reach a deal, the automatic cuts are scheduled to be triggered at the beginning of the year.
These mandatory cuts will have a devastating impact on mental health and substance use programs and services and related public health programs that are supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and other key agencies. A Mental Health America report on the sequestration details how these indiscriminate cuts would harm individuals living with mental health and substance use conditions.