Today, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill is aimed at boosting vaccination rollout capabilities, providing funding for small businesses and schools and giving relief to American families through new stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits and an expanded child tax credit among other provisions.
The legislation, expected to be signed into law by President Biden this week, also includes billions in support for life-saving mental health and substance use services. This relief comes at a critical time, as a continued rise in demand for services, coupled with workforce shortages and pandemic-related layoffs, have rendered 40% of mental health and substance use treatment organizations on the verge of shutting their doors without additional support.
Key mental health and substance use treatment provisions in today’s bill include:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Block Grants: Provides $3 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant and the Community Mental Health Services block grant ($1.5 billion each).
- Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs): Provides $420 million to SAMHSA to fund CCBHC Expansion Grants.
- Provider Relief Funds: $8.5 billion in new money to the Provider Relief Fund for providers in rural areas and those serving rural communities.
- Other Mental Health/Substance Use Disorder Funding: Provides more than $450 million in additional funding for SAMHSA and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) programming including funding for mental health and addiction services, workforce education and training, suicide prevention and public education campaigns.
National Council for Behavioral Health President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia released the following statement in response:
“The National Council for Behavioral Health thanks Congress and the Biden administration for prioritizing access to mental health and substance use treatment as we grapple simultaneously with COVID-19 and a nationwide mental health crisis. This support must be ongoing. We applaud Congress for taking significant action today. Because the nation’s mental health crisis will last for years to come, we will continue working with lawmakers on sustainable solutions to address the growing demand for mental health and substance use treatment and workforce challenges that organizations across the country face.”
The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 3,326 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 2 million Americans have been trained.