DHS receives $2 million grant to support behavioral health during COVID-19 pandemic

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MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) was awarded a $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support the state’s behavioral health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Services for people of all ages with mental health and substance use challenges and health care workers are included.

“While our primary focus during the COVID-19 pandemic has been on the physical well-being of our residents, we cannot overlook the impact this crisis has had on behavioral well-being, an essential part of overall health,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. “We all are feeling a sense of uncertainty right now, and for those with mental health and substance use concerns and our health care workers, this has been an especially challenging time. This grant funding allows us to work with our community partners to open new pathways for people who need immediate help.”

The funding is being used to develop programs to address the needs of populations facing the greatest challenges during this time, including efforts to:

  • Engage people who have encountered barriers to accessing care.
  • Expand services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
  • Enhance supports for foster care families.
  • Provide treatment services through telehealth to youth and young adults.
  • Provide substance-free housing for people in recovery from addiction.
  • Provide safe spaces for residential substance use treatment.
  • Connect people with peer specialists, individuals with experience in the mental health and substance use services system trained to support others in their journey to recovery.

Mental Health America of Wisconsin has been awarded $48,016 to provide treatment services to health care workers statewide through telehealth.

Behavioral Consulting Services has been awarded $58,203 to provide treatment and recovery supports to staff at long-term care facilities statewide.

The remainder of the grant funding is allocated to collecting data and monitoring the outcomes and effectiveness of each project.

The grant funding for all projects is available through August 2021.