HHS Announces $3 Billion in American Rescue Plan Funding for SAMHSA Block Grants to Address Addiction, Mental Health Crisis

HHS Secretary Becerra forms new Behavioral Health Coordinating Council

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is distributing $3 billion in American Rescue Plan funding—the largest aggregate amount of funding to date for its mental health and substance use block grant programs.

The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) Program and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program (SABG) will disperse $1.5 billion each to states and territories (with the latter also awarding money to a tribe). This follows the March announcement of supplemental funding of nearly $2.5 billion for these programs. SAMHSA, an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has expedited federal funding to grantees to help communities grappling with mental health and substance use needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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SAMHSA Headlines: May is Mental Health Month!

May is Mental Health Month!

SAMHSA is observing Mental Health Month in several exciting ways—

4th Annual Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day Symposium—May 6, 2021

The symposium is hosted by the National Council on Aging and cosponsored with the U.S. Administration for Community Living and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This virtual event will provide professionals with the latest tools to improve the lives of older adults in their communities.

National Prevention Week—May 9, 2021–May 15, 2021

NPW is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness and action around substance use prevention and the promotion of positive mental health.

Suicide Prevention Panel—May 14, 2021

SAMHSA’s New England Prevention Technology Transfer Center and New England Mental Health Technology Transfer Center partner to bring you this webinar on suicide prevention. Learn from experts about the latest research and evidence-based approaches for suicide prevention.

Blog: There are ways you can intervene to help prevent someone from acting on thoughts of suicide

Suicide is largely a preventable cause of death, and you are more able to help prevent it than you might think.

New Publication: Routine Administration of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis as the Standard of Care for Individuals Seeking Treatment for Psychosis

This guide provides mental health decision-makers (e.g., state/local mental health directors, treatment facility clinical directors, and other stakeholders) with rationale and evidence to support the widespread expansion of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis (CBTp) across mental health systems.

Funding

First Responders—Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Grants

Application Due Date: Monday, May 17, 2021

SAMHSA is accepting applications for First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Grants (FR-CARA). The purpose of this program is to allow first responders and members of other key community sectors to administer a drug or device approved or cleared under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) for emergency reversal of known or suspected opioid overdose. Recipients will train and provide resources to first responders and members of other key community sectors at the state, tribal, and local governmental levels on carrying and administering a drug or devices approved or cleared under the FD&C Act for emergency reversal of known or suspected opioid overdose. Recipients will also establish processes, protocols, mechanisms for referral to appropriate treatment and recovery support services, and safety around fentanyl, carfentanil, and other dangerous licit and illicit drugs

SAMHSA plans to issue approximately 15–20 awards of up to $250,000–$800,000 per year for up to 4 years.

Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) Grant Program

Application Due Date: Friday, May 21, 2021

SAMHSA is accepting applications for the Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) grant program. The purpose of this program is to enable community mental health centers to support and restore the delivery of clinical services that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and effectively address the needs of individuals with serious emotional disturbance (SED), serious mental illness (SMI), and individuals with SMI or SED and substance use disorders, referred to as co-occurring disorder (COD).

SAMHSA plans to issue approximately 165–825 awards of up to $500,000–$2,500,000 per year for up to 2 years.

National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion Grants

Application Due Date: Monday, June 21, 2021

SAMHSA is accepting applications for the National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics Expansion Grants (TTA‑CCBHC). The purpose of this program is to provide training and technical assistance to active SAMHSA CCBHC Expansion (CCBHC-E) grants in the following domains:

  1. implementation and adherence to the CCBHC model;
  2. utilization and integration of evidence-based services in CCBHC-E grant programs; and
  3. sustainability and alignment of practices with CCBHC and/or state certification criteria.

SAMHSA plans to issue 1 award of up to $3,000,000 per year for up to 5 years.

COVID-19 Information for SAMHSA Discretionary Grant Recipients

SAMHSA is allowing flexibility for grant recipients affected by the loss of operational capacity and increased costs due to the COVID-19 crisis. These flexibilities are available during this emergency time period. Flexibility may be reassessed upon issuance of new guidance by the Office of Management and Budget post the emergency time period. Continue to check for updated information and resources to assist grant recipients during the COVID-19 emergency.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to COVID-19 for SAMHSA Grant Recipients

These FAQs address general questions associated with the award and management of SAMHSA discretionary grants that may arise in relation to COVID-19. This information does not apply to SABG, MHBG, PATH, or PAIMI grants. Applicants and grant recipients are strongly encouraged to continue to check for updated information and resources.

Training & Events

Training and events are available for practitioners through SAMHSA’s Training and Technical Assistance Centers. Some of these are highlighted below. Visit SAMHSA’s Practitioner Training webpage for a more complete listing.

SAMHSA Headlines offers you a biweekly update of selected upcoming trainings and webinars. However, for a broader range of activities, visit this website, as well as the training sections of individual technical assistance center websites.

Selected events are highlighted below. Note that some of them require advance registration.

Note: If you are unable to access an event or webinar or have questions, please contact the source given at the individual event URL

Schizophrenia: Are We Ready for a Name Change?—Webinar

Friday, May 7, 2021 11:00 a.m. ET

The participants will receive an overview of the current concept of what is called Schizophrenia.

The limitations of the current name Schizophrenia as an appropriate title for this illness will be reviewed. Several alternative names to Schizophrenia will be listed along with results of a recent survey by our group, followed by discussion.

Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Serious Mental Illness—Webinar

Friday, May 7, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a relatively new and promising evidence-based approach to the treatment of severe mental illness such as schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and major depression with psychotic features. While medications have traditionally been the treatment of choice for persons with symptoms of psychosis, they are frequently not enough. ACT can be integrated or used adjunctively with the interdisciplinary treatment modes commonly used in inpatient and outpatient settings. ACT for psychosis does not directly target reduction of psychosis symptoms; rather, ACT aims to improve the ability to cope with psychotic symptoms and to reduce distress associated with psychotic symptoms.

Treatment of the Opioid-dependent Chronic Pain Patient—Virtual Roundtable

Friday, May 7, 2021 5:00 p.m. ET

This discussion is designed to promote interactivity through an informal “round table” conversation. Attendees will be given the opportunity to speak directly with the presenter to ask questions and discuss issues.

Strengthening School Communities for a Safe, Supportive Return: A Listening and Learning Session—Webinar

Monday, May 10, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET

Although a variety of in-person, virtual, and hybrid learning has occurred throughout the Southeast and the United States this school year, many schools are still shifting between learning models and/or starting to return to in-person learning. This Virtual Listening and Learning Session is designed to support school and district leaders, educators, student support personnel and other professionals to promote safe, supporting learning environments during these transitions. Following brief didactic information on best practices for school programming during COVID and other community-wide adversities, we will facilitate open discussion of strategies being put into place right now in the Southeast.

Part 1- We Are Not the Same: Understanding the Impact of COVID and Social Injustices on the Diverse Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities—Virtual Roundtable

Monday, May 10, 2021 2:00 p.m. ET

Learn what it means to be part of the AA, NH & PI communities, how each community self-identifies, unique strengths and challenges, and different mental health and social inequities associated with the COVID pandemic. Part II Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Self-Care and Healing will take place Wednesday, May 19, 2021 4:00 p.m. ET.

Technology-Based Supervision, Extending the Reach of Clinical Supervisors (Two-part video-conference via Zoom)

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 9:00 a.m. ET & Tuesday, May 18, 2021 9:00 a.m. ET

Ready or not, we are now living with online service delivery. Supervisors and the supervision they provide are especially critical at this time. This practical and interactive learning-community conversation provides guidance for preparing and maximizing the impact of online supervision. This conversation assumes prior supervisory training and/or experience.

988 – National Helpline for Mental Health Emergencies—Webinar

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 3:00 p.m. ET

A national three-digit 988 behavioral health and suicide prevention crisis hotline is probably the most significant public policy initiative impacting behavioral healthcare since Medicaid expansion. This presentation discusses the upcoming 988 call as a critical alternative to calling 911 for mental health crisis situations and key strategy for justice diversion.

Understanding Urine Drug Screens—Virtual Roundtable

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 3:00 p.m. ET

This discussion is designed to promote interactivity through an informal “round table” conversation. Attendees will be given the opportunity to speak directly with the presenter to ask questions and discuss issues.

The Double Burden: Covid-19 and Opioid Deaths—Webinar

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET

Before the U.S. entered the COVID-19 pandemic, it has long suffered the epidemic of opioid deaths. This webinar will address the impact of COVID-19 on individuals who misuse opioids and how the sudden change in everyday life increases their usage. It will explore how the pandemic has exacerbated mental instability and caused interruptions in potential treatment for people who misuse opioids. In addition, the webinar will present methods and resources to mitigate the risk of opioid deaths associated with vulnerable populations.

Changing the Conversation About Pain: The Role of Peer Support and Pain Education in the Integrated Primary Care Team in Pain Treatment—Webinar

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 5:30 p.m. ET

New understanding about pain is beginning to shift pain care itself. Evidence indicates that patient and clinician knowledge of pain science can move those receiving services toward self-care and supports a more positive conversation about opioid tapers as well. This presentation will explore the use of Oregon State tools and resources for clinician and patient pain education to develop a biopsychosocial-oriented pain care treatment plan.

Mental Health Assessments for Unaccompanied Minors in the United States—Webinar

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 1:00 p.m. ET

This is a free web panel for non-clinicians, case managers, clinical supervisors, health providers, program directors, administrators, and personnel who provide post-release services to unaccompanied minors. It will focus on key aspects of mental health assessment strategies for unaccompanied minors in the United States, introduce participants to a definition of assessment, and provide an overview of best practices for cross-cultural assessment.

Prevention in Action Panel: Prevention in the Era of Commercial Cannabis—Webinar

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 1:00 p.m. ET

Three of the six New England states have legalized adult-use cannabis, which has paved the way for commercial cannabis industries in these states. Meanwhile, other New England states are contemplating joining the ranks. How do we need to shift cannabis prevention strategies in an era of commercial cannabis? Join us for a panel of prevention professionals from legalized New England states to learn how they have approached cannabis prevention in this new environment.

Central Nervous System Effects of COVID-19: An Evolving Science—Webinar

Thursday, May 13, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET

COVID-19 is a novel virus. Over these months of the pandemic, examples of persistent central nervous system-mediated disease and disability have been identified. Many of these individuals will find their way to behavioral health offices in need of medical care, emotional support and understanding of unusual syndromes weeks to months after “recovery” from COVID-19. This presentation will provide the tools necessary to offer comprehensive care to this population.

Cultural and Linguistic Competency and Equity—Webinar

Thursday, May 13, 2021 1:00 p.m. ET

By developing Latino cultural competence, services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices, cultural and linguistic needs of diverse students and families can be effectively delivered. This one and a half-hour online session discusses the use of Culturally Modified-Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CM-TFT). CM-TFT is an Evidence-Based Therapy proven to be effective for Hispanic and Latino children and adolescents who experienced traumatic events.

What’s New in Opioids, Mental Health, HIV & STIs—Virtual Conference

Friday, May 14, 2021 8:15 a.m. ET & Friday, May 21, 2021 8:15 a.m. ET

This two-part conference will focus on the integration efforts that support a collaborative healthcare approach. Current medical updates in services for STIs, HIV, TB, hepatitis, family planning and addictions will be discussed. After completing this conference, the learner should be able to:

  1. State current practice in the care and treatment of STDs, HIV, opioid addictions and mental health;
  2. Explain how to screen clients for substance abuse issues;
  3. Identify Population at risk for HIV/STIs/Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder; and
  4. Demonstrate effective team skills by sharing information effectively, listening and responding to feedback from others, and using simple communication.

I’ve Screened, Now What? Perinatal Depression Screening and Response—Webinar

Monday, May 17, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET

Screening for depression symptoms without established plans for follow-up interventions can create challenges and anxiety for providers working in a variety of settings. This training will review best practices when screening perinatal populations for depression, and when needed, how to implement a team-based response to patients expressing thoughts of suicide. This session will also examine unique barriers experienced by perinatal persons when seeking care and discuss the importance of referral pathways for connecting individuals to care.

Mental Health Service Providers Mutual Support Group—Online Group

Monday, May 17, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET

This one-hour virtual support group session offer service providers an opportunity to share experiences, exchange resources, develop skills, and provide and receive mutual support during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Many of you have developed unique strategies for meeting the needs of service participants over the course of the year, but you may still be struggling with maintaining your own wellness and self-care. This group meets the third Monday of each month. Upcoming meetings include 6/21; 7/19; 8/16; 9/20.

Session 2 of The Needs and Joys of our (Im)migrant Students, Families and Community Partners: Fronterismo – Supporting Transborder School Mental Health

Monday, May 17, 2021 6:00 p.m. ET

Transborder students, like immigrant children, often live in the shadows. Their lives are complex, and navigating some of the busiest ports of entry in the world while balancing not being seen and at the same time being successful in school, can take a toll. This webinar addresses common school mental health challenges and celebrations of immigrant, mixed status, and transborder students. Together, we explore how to develop environments in schools that are trauma sensitive and reinforce sustainable systems of support via a cultural lens of the transborder and immigrant experience, while taking into consideration the challenges that have been exacerbated through COVID-19 and distance learning.

Understanding and Engaging Latinos of Caribbean Descent in Mental Health Treatment—Webinar

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 2:30 p.m. ET

This online session will provide information on the Hispanic and Latino Caribbean population and their specific mental health needs. In this workshop, we present the similarities and differences among the Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican cultures. Language, traditions and customs, cultural values, spirituality, and the social, historical, and political context that led them to migrate to the United States will be discussed. The presentation will address the intersection of these factors with mental health and mental health treatment among Latinos of Caribbean descent.

Telehealth for Early-Stage Psychosis: COVID-19 and Beyond—Webinar

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 11:00 a.m. ET

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted how mental health services are provided worldwide, leading many providers to adapt their traditional in-person services by implementing telehealth services (e.g., via videoconferencing platforms). However, little is known about the effectiveness of telehealth services for youth in the early stages of psychosis — young people experiencing subthreshold or initial, full symptoms of delusions, hallucinations, disorganization, etc. This webinar will cover telehealth considerations for youth in the early stages of psychosis during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Related and complementary interventions for this group, including smartphone apps and other virtual interventions, will also be discussed.

Understanding and Treating Mental Illness in the Context of Asian Cultures and Anti-Asian Racism—Webinar

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. For many Asian Americans, Asian cultures have shaped their explanatory models of health including mental health. In this event, the presenter will provide a brief analysis on how Asian religious and philosophical traditions affect the understanding, clinical manifestation, and treatment-seeking behaviors of mental illness. In addition, the mental health toll of anti-Asian racism and being a “model minority” will be presented. During the second part of the event, the presenter will lead a clinically oriented discussion to address the barriers to improve mental health care for Asian Americans.

Family Peer Support: How Families Can Foster Independence: Housing—Webinar

Thursday, May 20, 2021 1:00 p.m. ET

Families of persons with serious mental illness play an important role in the lives of their loved ones. In addition to being caring siblings, parents or spouses, they often function as caregivers and can be an asset to any mental health team to ensure optimal benefit of treatment. A new workforce is emerging to support these families. Family peer support workers are persons with a lived experience trained to provide support to other family members who are caring for a person with a serious mental illness. Presenters will demonstrate ways in which family peer support empowers families to support their loved one’s desire to live independently.

Matching Supports and Accommodations to Functional Implications of Mental Health Conditions—Webinar

Thursday, May 20, 2021 2:00 p.m. ET

Attendees will define reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, attendees will apply supports and accommodations based on the functional implications related to the mental health condition. Attendees will also gain an understanding of the resources available to help with identifying and requesting a reasonable accommodation.

Connecting Prevention Specialists to Native Communities—Virtual Training

Friday, May 21, 2021 1:00 p.m. ET

These monthly trainings will cover topics such as crisis response, creating safe spaces to heal, sexual assault awareness, youth engagement, food sovereignty, etc. We will be sharing resources, and encourage peer support among participants. Trainings are held monthly, with upcoming trainings on Jun 18, 2021; July 16, 2021; Aug 20, 2021; Sep 17, 2021; Oct 15, 2021; Nov 19, 2021; and Dec 17, 2021.

Resources

HHS Releases New Buprenorphine Practice Guidelines, Expanding Access to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

In an effort to get evidenced-based treatment to more Americans with opioid use disorder, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is releasing new buprenorphine practice guidelines that among other things, remove a longtime requirement tied to training, which some practitioners have cited as a barrier to treating more people.

Prevention Core Competencies

These prevention core competencies and accompanying knowledge, skills, and abilities offer professional direction to the prevention field, affecting staff development and career ladders and pipelines, and providing guidance for training programs and service delivery qualification.

Resources for Older Adults

SAMHSA has a number of products for serving older adults with mental and substance use disorders that can be useful to clinicians, other service providers, older adults, and caregivers.

Community Education Group Issues New Report Warning of Addiction/Hepatitis/HIV Syndemic in West Virginia

LOST RIVER, W.Va. (May 3, 2021) – A new report issued by the Community Education Group (CEG) details what the organization calls a “syndemic” of Substance Use Disorder, Viral Hepatitis, and HIV that constitutes a grave and ongoing threat to public health in West Virginia.

The report, entitled Deconstructing Silos in West Virginia: Breaking Down Barriers Between HIV, Substance Use Disorder, and Viral Hepatitis Care, describes how misguided policies and gaps in infrastructure are leaving multiple West Virginia counties vulnerable to outbreaks of Hepatitis and HIV, largely driven by the state’s opioid addiction crisis. West Virginia leads the nation in Viral Hepatitis diagnoses, and new HIV diagnoses have been increasing since 2017.

The document lays out steps for reversing these trends, such as improving access to testing and treatment and making sure infected and at-risk patients are referred to the appropriate care and services.

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West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute Launches Online Naloxone Training

Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute (WV DII) has launched an online naloxone training course. Anyone throughout West Virginia is invited to participate in the training. Upon
completion of this online course, participants will be mailed a training certificate and two doses of auto-
injector naloxone free of charge.

Naloxone, an overdose reversal medication, is available in West Virginia through a standing order issued
by the State Health Officer, Dr. Ayne Amjad, or through area pharmacies without a prescription.
Recently, new legislation expanded the ability for certain non-profits and community organizations to
distribute naloxone to the community under Dr. Amjad’s standing order.

“Naloxone is a life-saving drug that we must continue to offer our loved ones and community members who are suffering from substance abuse disorder. We appreciate WV DII’s efforts to expand education around this life-saving intervention, especially in light of the tragic increase in overdose deaths,” said Dr.
Matthew Christensen, Director of the West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy. “Recovery happens
every day and, in many instances, naloxone makes that possible.”

“While online (Zoom) trainings and face-to-face trainings are held throughout the state, the WV DII
wanted to create an opportunity for West Virginians to get trained on proper naloxone use and overdose
response immediately by creating an on-demand online course that can be accessed anytime and from any
computer,” explained WV DII President, Dr. Susan Bissett.
West Virginia experienced a 45% increase in the number of overdose deaths in 2020. In fact, according to
a report released by the United States National Office of Drug Control Policy last month, more West
Virginians died of drug overdoses last year than in any previous year on record—an estimated 1,275
deaths in 2020.
Media inquiries can be directed to the Institute’s President, Dr. Susan Bissett at: susan@wvdii.org or
(304) 941-4182. To participate in the training visit: https://wvdii.thinkific.com/courses/naloxone-training.

The West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute (WV DII) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in
Charleston. The Institute’s mission is to reduce deaths in West Virginia from opioid and drug abuse by being (a) an independent advocate for life-enhancing drug policies, and practices, (b) a hub for coordinating drug response activities, and (c) an educational center to address the prevalence of drug abuse and the stigma of drug addiction.

Federal Grantees May Now Use Funds to Purchase Fentanyl Test Strips

Federal Grantees May Now Use Funds to Purchase Fentanyl Test Strips

 

New Guidance Aims to Reduce Drug Overdose Deaths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced today that federal funding may now be used to purchase rapid fentanyl test strips (FTS) in an effort to help curb the dramatic spike in drug overdose deaths largely driven by the use of strong synthetic opioids, including illicitly manufactured fentanyl.

FTS can be used to determine if drugs have been mixed or cut with fentanyl, providing people who use drugs and communities with important information about fentanyl in the illicit drug supply so they can take steps to reduce their risk of overdose.

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