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The Department of Health and Human Services, through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Office of Minority Health, will provide close to $35 million in funding toward strengthening and expanding mental health services and suicide prevention programs for children and young adults.
Of the total, $9.2 million comes from the American Rescue Plan.
The announcement comes on the heels of HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra’s recent National Tour to Strengthen Mental Health in which he sought to hear from Americans about their mental health struggles. The tour was part of a broader administration effort to engage with local leaders to bolster community mental health and crisis care systems.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT
The funding will be spread out across seven grant programs.
The Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) program develops sustainable infrastructure for school-based mental health programs and services. Grant recipients will build a collaborative partnership that includes the State Education Agency, the Local Education Agency, the State Mental Health Agency, community-based providers of behavioral health care services, school personnel, community organizations, families and school-aged youth. This grant will fund up to $5.4 million from the American Rescue Plan over five years for up to three grant awards.
The Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention (GLS) program enhances mental health services for all college students, including those at risk for suicide, depression, serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbances or substance use. The program will fund up to $2.2 million, including $102,000 from the American Rescue Plan, over three years for up to 22 grant awards.
The GLS State/Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Program, meanwhile, supports states and tribes with implementing youth suicide prevention and early intervention strategies in schools and educational institutions, substance use and mental health programs, foster care systems, and other child- and youth-serving organizations. The program will fund up to $4.4 million over five years, including $3.7 million from the American Rescue Plan, for up to six grantees.
The Statewide Family Network (SFN) Program enhances the capacity of statewide mental health family-controlled organizations –such as organizations in which families help other families improve their lives – to support families and caregivers who are raising children, youths, and young adults with serious emotional disturbances. The program is intended to serve as a catalyst for transforming mental health and related systems in states by strengthening coalitions led by family-controlled organizations, and between family members, policy makers, and service providers. The program will fund up to $1.6 million over three years for up to 13 grant awards.
The Expansion and Sustainability of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances (SED) program, also known as the System of Care (SOC) Expansion and Sustainability Grants, improves mental health outcomes for children and youth who have SED, from birth through age 21, and their families. It will seek to create sustainable infrastructure and services that are required as part of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and their Families Program (also known as the Children’s Mental Health Initiative or CMHI). The grant program will fund up to $10.4 million over four years, for up to 10 grantees.
The Community Programs for Outreach and Intervention with Youth and Young Adults at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis (CHR-P) program helps to identify youth and young adults no older than 25 who are at clinical high risk for psychosis and provide evidence-based interventions in a trauma-informed manner to prevent the onset of these conditions. The grant program will fund up to $7.2 million over four years, for up to 18 grantees.
Lastly, the OMH Demonstrating Policy Effectiveness to Promote Black Youth Mental Health Initiative aims to identify health and wellness policies that are successful in improving Black youth mental health, including suicide prevention.
THE LARGER TREND
HHS has made burnout a focus in recent months. While the new funding is geared toward community and youth mental health, the agency has also made addressing healthcare worker burnout a priority, with ARP funding of about $103 million dedicated in January to that purpose.
Recipients awarded the Health Workforce Resiliency Awards include healthcare providers, academic institutions and other recipients.
The funding adds to previous workforce investments such as residency programs.
A suicide prevention hotline, 988, will be getting $3 million in the coming weeks. The national launch will be in the next several months, Becerra said.