Today HHS Secretary, Xavier Becerra, along with Assistant Secretary Lavine and Acting Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use (SAMHSA) Coderre, announced the Administration’s newly created Behavioral Health Coordinating Council. The Council is tasked with coordinating all federal government resources to address inequities and gaps within the mental health and substance use disorder system. Secretary Lavine and Acting Assistant Secretary Coderre will chair the Council.
“Behavioral health is a priority for the Department of Health and Human Services. The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the need to invest resources in our nation’s mental health and address the inequities that still exist around behavioral health care. That’s why we are making this historic investment in mental health and substance use services,” said HHS Secretary Becerra.
Acting Assistant Secretary, Tom Coderre, also announced a total of three billion dollars in block grants to the states for mental health and substance use disorder services. He indicated that states have broad discretion regarding how those dollars may be utilized within each state. Some of the uses mentioned include workforce development, telehealth services, and quicker access to care.
“The Biden-Harris Administration’s support through the American Rescue Plan funding will increase community-level supports for Americans who have been grappling with devastating emotional and mental challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Coderre. “Given the significant impact mental and substance use disorders can have on the lives of individuals, families, and communities, the establishment of the BHCC provides a critical tool in addressing these issues in a collaborative and strategic way.”
NAATP applauds the focus on mental health and substance use disorder needs. We stand ready to assist the Administration in any way we can. We also encourage our members to engage with their state governments to ensure that these funds are used in a manner that provides much needed assistance to the entire field.
NAATP Director of Public Policy