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Omnibus funding bill includes Sandy Hook Promise policy priorities, including the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Reauthorization Act and key support for mental health interventions

Sandy Hook Promise applauds passage of school safety, suicide prevention and mental health supports for students, families, and communities

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Today, Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus funding package, which includes essential school safety, suicide prevention, and mental health supports for students, families, and communities. Sandy Hook Promise worked closely with key leaders and partner organizations in the mental health community to urge Congress to include the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Reauthorization Act of 2022 in the package with a $10 million increase in funding for youth suicide prevention and a provision to help support families secure lethal means. The package includes both of these priorities, including a total of $43.8 million for Garrett Lee Smith State Grants.

The Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund and national grassroots Promise Leader volunteer network also effectively advocated for the following measures included in the robust funding package:

  • $118 million for STOP School Violence Act grants via the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which make critical funding available to schools to implement evidence-based early intervention school programs to prevent violence;
  • $140 million for Project AWARE, which helps schools build capacity for the implementation of wellness and mental health awareness programs; and
  • Funding authorized through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to help states implement crisis intervention strategies including the temporary transfer of firearms, aka Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) laws, for those at imminent risk of hurting themselves or others.

Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, issued the following statement in response:

“The omnibus funding bill Congress just passed includes important investments to improve mental health and protect students, families, and communities. With suicide being a leading cause of death among young people, the mental health awareness and suicide prevention funding comes at a critical time. As we continue to be plagued by school shootings, funding for early intervention programs is desperately needed.

“We especially want to thank current and past members of Congress who, over many years, have taken the lead and worked hard to pass laws and allocate funding to support mental health and protect students, families and communities:

“In the House: Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL); Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT); Rep. Val Demings (D-FL); Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL); Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA); Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH); Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX); Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT); Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA); Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA; Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA); Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY); Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL); Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA); and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI).

“In the Senate: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT); Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL); Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI); Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK); Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA); Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MA); Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)

“We are grateful for the bipartisan support and leadership to make our communities safer and healthier. As we look toward the New Year, we are heartened by the progress we’ve made and eager to roll up our sleeves and continue our work together with Congress to end the gun violence epidemic once and for all.”


The Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund (SHPAF) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization committed to protecting all children from gun violence in schools, homes, and communities. The SHP Action Fund advances a holistic policy platform that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education. The organization works at the state and federal level to pass nonpartisan legislation through inclusive partnerships, diverse grassroots education, and community mobilization. It is part of Sandy Hook Promise, founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. 

Media Contact: 

Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646-761-5579