An amendment to a Senate unemployment bill package would provide $4.5 billion to fund the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The amount is equal to what was proposed in the Senate Republican bill the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools Act.
SAMHSA funds would be distributed in multiple ways: $2 billion would provide Mental Health Services block grants, at 50 percent of which will be awarded to behavioral health providers; $1.5 billion would provide Substance Abuse and Prevention Treatment block grant; $600 million will be distributed to certified community behavioral health clinics; $50 million will be distributed to suicide prevention programs; $100 million will be given to Project AWARE to support mental health when schools reopen; and $250 million will provide states with emergency grants.
The amendment was introduced by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). Both are members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“The pandemic has taken a severe toll on our public health infrastructure and has strained services related to substance abuse, mental health, and suicide prevention,” Collins said. “Our amendment would significantly boost funding to help combat the opioid crisis and promote mental health services in order to support the growing number of Americans who are relying on these programs during this difficult time.”