This timely information compliments of AMHCA and MMHCA                              May 18, 2020

James Blundo MMHCA Executive Director and AMHCA Board Member

House Passes Stimulus 4.0 Legislation, HEROES Act, which Includes Mental Health Resources

  • The House passed the HEROES Acton May 15th, which is the $3 trillion dollar stimulus package in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • Here are links to more information on the legislation: bill text, and section by section summary.
  • In addition to including $1 trillion dollars in aid to states and localities for lost revenues the bill included funding and various provisions around mental health.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration– $3 billion to increase mental health support during this challenging time, to support substance abuse treatment, and to offer increased outreach, including:

o   $1.5 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant;

o   $1 billion for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant;

o   $100 million for services to homeless individuals;

o   $100 million for Project AWARE to identify students and connect them with mental health services;

o   $10 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network

o   $265 million for emergency response grants to address immediate behavioral health needs as a result of COVID-19;

o   $25 million for the Suicide Lifeline and Disaster Distress Helpline; and

  • Not less $150 million for tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, or health service providers to tribes across a variety of programs.
  • $90 billion for a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund for grants to States to support statewide and local funding for elementary and secondary schools and public postsecondary institutions.
  • This flexible funding can support: providing school-based supports for impacted students, families, and staff, including counseling, mental health services,family engagement efforts, and the coordination of physical health services.
  • Includes National Suicide Lifeline Improvement Act

o   Sec. 601. Includes findings related to suicide and mental health crisis counseling and the importance of designating a three-digit code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

o   Sec. 602. Universal Telephone Number for National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline System: Designates 9-8-8 as the universal dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

o   Sec. 603. State Authority over Fees: Allows states to impose a fee or charge on voice service subscribers’ bills for the support or implementation of 9-8-8 services for the support of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

o   Sec. 604. Location Identification Report. Requires the FCC to evaluate and submit a report to Congress on the feasibility and cost of automatically providing the dispatch able location of calls to 9-8-8.

o   Sec. 605. Report on Certain Training Programs. Requires the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use to submit a report to Congress that details a strategy for offering support or providing technical assistance for training programs for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline counselors to increase competency in serving LGBTQ youth.

  • Section 30618. Research on the mental health impact of COVID–19: Directs the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health to support research on the mental health consequences of COVID-19, including the impact on health care providers.
  • Section 30619. Emergency mental health and substance use training and technical assistance center: Establishes a technical assistance center at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that will support public or nonprofit entities and public health professionals seeking to establish or expand access to mental health and substance use services associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Section 30633.Grants to address substance use during COVID-19: Authorizes SAMHSA to award grants to support local, tribal, and state substance use efforts that need further assistance as a result of COVID-19.
  • Section 80013. Vet Center mental health care and services for National Guard and Reserve members responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency: Permits any National Guard or Reserve member to receive mental health care at Vet Centers if deployed for more than 14 days in support of the COVID-19 public health emergency.