Behavioral health council launches COVID-19 Relief Fund

Behavioral health council launches COVID-19 Relief Fund

The National Council for Behavioral Health announced recently that it has launched a COVID-19 Relief Fund to help mental health and addiction treatment organizations as they grapple with the financial impact the pandemic has had on their organizations.

In a letter from NCBH President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia, the council will give 100 percent of donations made to the National Council COVID-19 Relief Fund to non-profit mental health, behavioral health, and addiction treatment providers across the country.

“Our goal is to ensure that community behavioral health care organizations remain open so they can provide treatment and services to their clients. America already is on the verge of a behavioral health crisis. New Census Bureau data shows that for every 100 American adults, 34 show symptoms of anxiety, depression, or both – that means that one-third of Americans show signs of clinical anxiety or depression. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reported that telephone calls to its hotline increased 891% from March 2019 to March 2020,” Ingoglia said in his letter.

Funds can be used to purchase cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment, computer equipment, and food for health care providers. Any technological equipment donated to the fund will be given to providers to facilitate telehealth services, including tablets, iPads, computers, WiFi hotspot enablers, and other hardware pieces.

According to a survey of community behavioral health care organizations done by the Council, stay-at-home order and other responses to COVID-19 have negatively impacted the financial stability of those organizations. More than 61 percent of the surveyed organizations have closed at least one program, and more than 92 percent had reduced their operations. Almost half (46.7 percent) have had to, or plan to, lay off or furlough employees because of COVID-19. Nearly two-thirds of the organizations (62.1 percent) felt they could only survive financially for three months or less under COVID-19 conditions.