On September 28, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced it had completed distribution of the $835 million Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) Grant Program that was authorized under both the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2021 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplement (CRRS) Act of 2021. This funding will support the expansion of access to mental and behavioral health services in response to the increased rates of mental health in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CMHCs are community-based facilities or groups of facilities that provide prevention, treatment and rehabilitation mental health services. SAMHSA’s grant program was created to restore the delivery of clinical services that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and effectively address the needs of those with a serious emotional disturbance (SED), serious mental illness (SMI) or a co-occurring disorder (see definitions of these conditions here). The new funding was distributed to 231 CMHCs across the nation, with awards going directly to seven counties as well as numerous other county agencies. Click here for the full list of CMHC grant recipients.
County-based behavioral health systems exist in 23 states that support 75 percent of the nation’s population, and counties deliver community-based mental health and substance use disorder services through 750 behavioral health authorities. Counties and county agencies that received CMHC grant funding can leverage funds to expand services in the following ways:
- Train behavioral health professionals to work in school settings
- Train staff on behavioral health disparities and cultural and linguistic competence for diverse clients
- Expand inpatient and mobile crisis mental health services for target populations
- Expand mobile crisis mental health services for target populations
- Conduct outreach and building referral pathways for vulnerable populations, including minorities and economically disadvantage communities
- Train peer staff to address mental health issues related to the pandemic
Once a CMHC grantee receives its allocation, they must develop and submit a behavioral health disparities impact statement, which includes information about how it plans to use the funds to address the needs of under-resourced populations and adhere to the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care. For more information on the CMHC Grant Program, click here.
- NACo Policy Brief: Enhance Counties' Ability to Prevent and Treat Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Disorders
- NACo Policy Brief: Behavioral Health Matters to Counties
- NACo Blog: SAMHSA Releases $3 Billion in ARPA Funding for Mental Health and Substance Use Programs