More than $110 million in emergency funding for substance abuse disorder treatment and mental health treatment will be released quickly by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), the agency announced today.
The grants were announced two weeks ago on SAMSHA’s website. SAMSHA, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will release that funding to the successful applicants this week.
“Within just a few weeks of Congress providing these grant funds, SAMHSA is distributing them to help Americans with substance use disorders and serious mental illness receive the treatment they need during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “SAMHSA has been working around the clock to ensure that Americans are getting access to the mental healthcare they need, whether for preexisting mental health conditions or for challenges arising during this emergency. President Trump has made mental health a priority throughout his time in office, and HHS will make support for quality mental healthcare a priority throughout the COVID-19 crisis.”
The emergency grants will provide up to $2 million for successful state applicants and up to $500,000 for successful territory and tribal applicants for programs to address mental health treatment and substance use disorder treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants will last for up to 16 months.
“SAMHSA is working quickly to get funding to Americans because we know how urgent the situation is,” said Elinore F. McCance-Katz, HHS assistant secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the head of SAMHSA. “Before the pandemic, there were nearly 58 million Americans living with mental and/or substance use disorders, according to our National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The stressors and trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic exponentially increase the urgency of connecting individuals to treatment.”
The agency said it released the funds to address what it expects will be an increase in the number of Americans grappling with mental health issues and substance use disorder because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation’s response to it. The agency said it expects to see increases in depression, anxiety, trauma, and grief.
“SAMHSA truly views this as an emergency,” said Assistant Secretary McCance-Katz. “We know that the advent of a new medical crisis, unfortunately, does not replace the ongoing mental health and substance abuse crisis our nation faces daily; they occur concurrently.”