SAMHSA Awards Record $ 825 Million in Grants to Strengthen Community Mental Health Centers and Support Americans Living with Severe Emotional Disorders and Mental Illnesses

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Following its commitment to invest $ 825 million in Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC), the Addiction and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announces the distribution of funds to 231 CMHCs across the country.

The funding, which comes from the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2021 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplement (CRRS) Act of 2021, reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to support and expand access to mental health and behavioral support as Americans continue to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CMHCs are community institutions or groups of institutions that provide mental health prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services. This grant program will allow CMHCs to respond more effectively to the needs of people with severe emotional disturbance (SED) or serious mental illness (SMI), as well as people with SED or MDS and related disorders. use of substances, called co-occurring disorder (COD).

According to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from August 2020 to February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%, and the percentage of these reporting an unmet need for mental health care increased from 9.2 percent to 11.7 percent.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of the lives of Americans – these disruptions are particularly difficult for people with mental health disorders,” said the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS ), Xavier Becerra. “Thanks to CAA and CRRS laws, we are investing record funding in community mental health centers, which are often on the front line serving our most vulnerable communities. “

“Every American deserves access to behavioral health services in the communities where they live, and we recognize the urgent need to strengthen these services for minority populations and those living in economically disadvantaged communities,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the HHS US Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Addiction and the Head of SAMHSA. “The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our ability to ensure timely access to treatment services and recovery supports. This funding will help CMHCs meet local needs, which have become even more urgent over the past year.

SAMHSA requires 231 CMHCs to prepare a Behavioral Health Disparity Impact Statement no later than 60 days after receiving their grants; develop a quality improvement plan to address the differences between underfunded populations based on access, use and outcomes of service activities; and identify methods for developing policies and procedures to ensure adherence to national standards for culturally and linguistically appropriate services in health and health care.

CMHCs must also provide services that include:

  • HIPAA compliant telehealth audio and audiovisual capabilities;
  • Outpatient services for people with SED, SMI and COD in service areas;
  • Patient-centered screening, assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning and treatment delivery;
  • Clinical and recovery support services (eg, psychosocial rehabilitation, case management services and peer support); and,
  • Resources to meet the mental health needs of CMHC staff.

Eligible services under the grant include:

  • Train behavioral health professionals to work with schools to address the behavioral health issues of school-aged youth at risk for ADS, including paying attention to services that meet the needs of children, particularly with regard to Back to School ;
  • Provide training to staff on behavioral health disparities, including to develop cultural and language skills and on the use of strategies to engage and retain diverse client populations;
  • Increase the capacity and availability of crisis beds;
  • Expand mobile mental health services in crisis situations for target populations;
  • Develop and implement awareness raising strategies and referral pathways for vulnerable populations, such as minority populations and people residing in economically disadvantaged communities; and,
  • Train and support peer staff to serve as an integral member of the team to address mental health needs that may arise as a result of the pandemic – including, but not limited to, trauma, bereavement, loneliness and isolation.

Earlier this year, Secretary Becerra formed a new Behavioral Health Coordinating Council (BHCC). Assistant Secretary Delphin-Rittmon and Assistant Secretary for Health Dr Rachel Levine are the co-chairs of this coordinating body, which includes senior leaders from across HHS. The main objective of BHCC is to facilitate collaborative, innovative, transparent, equitable and action-oriented approaches to address the Ministry’s behavioral health agenda. The activities authorized under the CMHC grant complement the areas of intervention of the BHCC: 1) crisis and suicide; 2) behavioral health of young people; 3) data and evaluation – focusing on disparities and measuring equity; 4) integration of primary care and behavioral health care; and 5) prevention of overdose. View CMHC grant recipients.

To find treatment options for addiction and mental health disorders, call the SAMHSA 24/7 National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) or visit findtreatment.samhsa.gov.

Journalists with questions about grants should contact [email protected]

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