CBS19: Funding to address mental health, substance abuse in wake of pandemic


Millions in federal funding aims to help mental health and substance abuse programs in Virginia.

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger says the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services will get more than $69.7 million to strengthen mental health and substance abuse-focused programs.

This funding comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

“To address the massive mental health and substance abuse crisis Virginia faces, we need to increase investment in programs with a demonstrated track record of success. Additionally, we need to provide as much flexibility as possible to those who are leading the charge against addiction and drug overdoses on the ground,” said Spanberger. “I am greatly appreciative of this major investment in Virginia’s mental health and substance abuse programs, and I am proud to see American Rescue Plan dollars going directly to the communities in Virginia that need it. I am hopeful that greater attention to this issue and greater federal support will lead to greater chances of recovery for those in the grips of drug abuse and addiction. I also pray that this federal funding will prevent future tragedies and prevent more families from losing a loved one to this other epidemic, an epidemic that has been worsened by the COVID-19 crisis.”

The funding is being split into two grants. 

A Community Mental Health Services Block Grant of more than $35 million will go to increase comprehensive community mental health services as well as address needs and gaps in existing treatment services for people with serious mental illness.

A Substance Abuse Block Grant of nearly $34 million will let the Commonwealth plan, implement and evaluate activities to prevent, treat and help more people recover from substance abuse disorder and allow for investments in existing prevention, treatment and recovery infrastructure.

This funding will also help Virginia promote support for providers as they work to address local needs and deliver substance abuse disorder services to those who need them.

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