American Rescue Plan Act + Funding for Mental Health Agencies

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the massive $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act into law.  The bill includes funding for many facets of the American economy that’s still reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  Roughly $4 billion of these funds are going to be put toward behavioral health and mental health services. The bill includes key provisions for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, youth suicide prevention, Project AWARE, behavioral health support for health care professionals and a public service campaign.

It is essential and heartening that Congress and the administration included funding for our nation’s mental health system in this wave of COVID relief. We are particularly pleased to see support for our front-line physicians and other workers, many of whom have made great sacrifices during this time, and many of whom are hurting.”

– APA President Jeffrey Geller, M.D., M.P.H.

Types of mental health funding opportunities include:

  • $1.5 billion for community mental health services block grants. These will be available to states through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  • $1.5 billion for substance abuse treatment and prevention block grants. These will be available to states through SAMHSA.
  • $420 million for expansion grants for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC). These are available to states through SAMHSA to provide comprehensive, patient-centered care and treatment for those with serious, complex mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Nonprofits, local governmental behavioral health authorities, and Tribal organizations are eligible as CCBHCs.
  • $20 million for education and public awareness campaign for healthy workplace conditions and use of services. The money will go to the CDC.
  • $80 million for mental health and substance-use disorder training for health care professionals, paraprofessionals, and public safety officers. The funds are through Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and may go to health professions schools, academic health centers, governments, Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations, or other appropriate public or private nonprofit entities.
  • $40 million for health care providers to promote mental health. These will be available through HRSA and available to entities providing health, health care provider associations, and federally qualified health centers.
  • $30 million for community-based funding for local substance-use disorder services. These will be available to states, territories, Tribal governments, nonprofits, and primary and behavioral health organizations through SAMHSA in consultation with the CDC.
  • $50 million for community-based funding local behavioral health needs. These are available through SAMHSA to state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, Tribal organizations, nonprofit community-based entities, and primary care and behavioral health organizations to address needs due to COVID-19.
  • $100 million for behavioral health workforce education and training.
  • $80 million for pediatric mental health care access.
  • $10 million for the national child traumatic stress network.
  • $30 million to fund Project Aware.
  • $20 million to fund youth suicide prevention.

Telehealth Funding Opportunity

Another funding opportunity for mental health and behavioral health providers is a Telehealth Funding Opportunity through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  The FCC has allocated $200 million in provider funding in recognition of the significant role telehealth has played during the pandemic. Eligible providers include community health centers, health departments, community mental health centers, rural health clinics, skilled nursing facilities and non-profit hospitals.

The application process opens on April 29, 2021 and will close on May 6, 2021.  Applications and more information can be found on the Universal Service Administrative Co. who will be administering the program for the FCC.  Examples of eligible devices and services include telecommunications services, information services and internet connected devices and equipment.

The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic will be felt for a long time.  2020 was a difficult year for all Americans, and the American Rescue Plan Act recognizes that difficulty and helps to provide services for those who need them most.  Exym EHR for mental health is proud to serve agencies who do the important work of helping vulnerable communities and individuals, and we will be here to support our customers every step of the way!