HHS Announces $3 Billion In Funds For Mental Health And Substance Abuse Block Grants
May 19, 2021   

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces $3 billion in American Rescue Plan Funding for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Block Grants to address mental health and substance abuse. This is the largest aggregate amount of funding to date for SAMHSA mental health and substance use block grant programs. The two block grant programs, the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) Program and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program (SABG), will disperse $1.5 billion each. These block grants give states and territories maximum flexibility to design and implement activities and services to address the unique mental and substance use disorder needs of their populations.

The MHBG program makes funds available to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 6 Pacific jurisdictions to provide community mental health services. It enables these states and territories to provide comprehensive community mental health services and address needs and gaps in existing treatment services for those with severe mental health conditions.

The SABG program provides funds to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, 6 Pacific jurisdictions, and 1 tribal entity to prevent and treat substance abuse. The program allows states and territories to plan, implement and evaluate activities to prevent, treat and help more people recover from substance use disorder. This funding will also allow recipients to make investments in existing prevention, treatment, and recovery infrastructure, promote support for providers and address unique local needs to deliver substance use disorder services.

The HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said the 'pandemic made clear the need to invest in the nation's mental health, address inequities around behavioral health care'. With the nation’s mental and substance use disorder needs directly in focus, the HSS is also establishing a new Behavioral Health Coordinating Council (BHCC). The BHCC's big-picture goal is to facilitate collaborative, innovative, transparent, and equitable approaches to deliver on HHS’s behavioral health agenda.

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