Mental Health:

Prevention of Mental Disorders and Research on Stress-Related Disorders

HRD-89-97: Published: Sep 12, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 12, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on federal implementation of 1980 and 1983 legislative provisions requiring more activities geared toward preventing mental disability.

GAO found that: (1) the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) formulated, but did not implement, national prevention goals, priorities, policies, and programs; (2) an August 1985 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reorganization abolished the NIMH Division of Prevention and Special Mental Health Programs, reassigning its functions to other existing or newly created divisions; (3) disbursement of authority and lack of resources for NIMH prevention program oversight resulted in little overall prevention planning and coordination across NIMH divisions; (4) HHS planned to hold a national conference on the prevention of the development of mental disability in early 1990; (5) the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration established an Associate Administrator for Prevention to promote and coordinate prevention research programs, but reassigned those responsibilities in May 1989 to another office; and (6) NIMH funded 42 grants worth over $9 million for research about loss-related stress caused by bereavement, separation and divorce, unemployment, the farm crisis, and disasters.

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