Spanberger Announces $69.7 Million in Federal Grant Funding for Virginia Mental Health & Substance Abuse Programs in the Wake of COVID-19

May 18, 2021

This Major Funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration was Made Possible through the American Rescue Plan, which the Congresswoman Voted to Pass in March 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today announced awards totaling more than $69.7 million for the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to strengthen its mental health and substance abuse-focused programs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These major awards from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) were made possible by the American Rescue Plan, which Spanberger voted to pass and President Joe Biden signed into law in March 2021.

“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 $69.7 million in federal funds — awarded through SAMHSA — will be distributed to the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services as follows:

  • MHBG: A Community Mental Health Services Black Grant (MHBG) of $35,786,432 for increasing comprehensive community mental health services in Virginia. Additionally, this funding can be used to address needs and gaps in existing treatment services for Virginians with serious mental illness.
  • SABG: A Substance Abuse Block Grant (SABG) of $33,982,454 to allow Virginia to plan, implement, and evaluate activities to prevent, treat, and help more Virginians recover from substance abuse disorder. This funding will also allow Virginia to make serious investments in existing prevention, treatment, and recovery infrastructure — and it will help Virginia promote support for providers as they address local needs and deliver substance abuse disorder services.

SAMHSA — an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — has recently expedited federal funding to grantees to help communities grappling with mental health and substance use needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read today’s full slate of grant announcements from SAMHSA.

Spanberger has remained focused on increasing support for mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, and other behavioral health services related to the negative effects of the pandemic. Last week, after she pressed the U.S. Treasury Department to allow states to use American Rescue Plan funding to combat increased drug overdose deaths, the Treasury Department released guidance on acceptable uses of these funds — including to combat the substance abuse epidemic in communities across the country.


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