The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has expedited its process to release emergency grants to strengthen access to treatments for substance use disorders and serious mental illnesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only two weeks ago, the grant opportunities were announced and posted to SAMHSA’s website as part of the Trump administration’s comprehensive effort to meet the needs of Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This week, SAMHSA, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is releasing much-needed funding to successful applicants across America.
“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.”
“SAMHSA is working quickly to get funding to Americans because we know how urgent the situation is,” said Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, the 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.”
Fiscal Year 2020 Emergency Grants to Address Mental and Substance Use Disorders During COVID-19 (Short Title: Emergency COVID-19) are being awarded today. The grants total $110 million and will provide up to $2 million for successful state applicants and up to $500,000 for successful territory and tribal applicants for 16 months.
SAMHSA expects the current national crisis of COVID-19 to contribute to an increase in the number of Americans grappling with such disorders. People throughout the nation will struggle with 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.”