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The federal government is making a big push to fund more mental health clinics

By Dennis Thompson Health Day Reporter

(Health Day)

TUESDAY, Oct. 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The federal government is injecting millions more into an effort to expand America’s network of community mental health centers.

These crisis centers are available 24 hours a day to help anyone with mental health or addiction issues, regardless of their ability to pay.

The $15 million in additional planning funds comes on top of nearly $300 million awarded in September to new and existing CCBHCs, the agency said.

“Today we are talking about providing Americans with 24/7 support for crisis care,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said during a press briefing. “It’s something that’s only available to some. Depending on your income and postcode, you could be totally unlucky. That’s going to start to change.

The strategy is to provide sufficient funding so that at least 10 additional states can open their own local CCBHCs every two years, gradually expanding a network of crisis centers across the country, said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo ., a leader. bipartisanship Excellence in Mental Health and Addictions Act, 2014 who created the CCBHCs.

Ten states — Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon and Pennsylvania — operate CCBHCs under a demonstration program created by the 2014 law.

Early next year, federal officials expect to name up to 15 states that will receive one-year, $1 million planning grants. From this group, 10 states will be selected in 2024 to join the demonstration project.

“Step by step, we’re going to take this nationally,” said the bill’s other major sponsor, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.

Statistics from the 10 states currently in the program show how the effort is “already changing people’s lives,” Stabenow said.

“People receiving services at CCBHCs show a 72% reduction in hospitalizations; 69% reduction in emergency room visits; 41% decrease in homelessness; and they spent 60% less time in jail,” she said.

CCBHCs are reimbursed by Medicaid for the full cost of the services they provide at higher and more competitive rates than those community mental health centers currently receive, HHS said.

However, they are also subject to demanding quality standards and are necessary to speed up the treatment of people. A CCBHC must provide routine outpatient care within 10 working days of first contact, to avoid people languishing on waiting lists, the agency said.

The expansion of the CCBHC program is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to tackle America’s mental health crisis, joining the launch of the crisis line 988 in July, Becerra said.

The 988 line is “the 911 for those who are about to do something they shouldn’t be doing with their own lives,” Becerra said. “988 becomes a place where you get help, and if we do it right, when you call that three-digit number, you’ll get the help you need – and you’ll get the help you need. as we will now establish a nationally certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.

sergeant. Chad Matthews, supervisor of the Montgomery County Police Department’s Crisis Response Support Section in Maryland, said these crisis centers help take pressure off police officers, who are often the first responders in cases. mental health crisis.

“The options available to most police officers when encountering someone in a mental health crisis are either a trip to the hospital or a jail cell,” Matthews said during the briefing. “The problem for law enforcement is simple: how can we best help those who are experiencing a mental health or behavioral health crisis? We know the answer is not to criminalize mental health, and we We also know that emergency rooms are not equipped to handle someone in a mental health crisis.

These new crisis centers are “vital in bridging the gap between a law enforcement encounter and treatment,” Matthews said.

The hope is that the stigma around mental health will eventually dissolve as treatment becomes routinely available, Blunt said.

“We have to get to where, as a society, we are just as willing to tell your friends about a family member who has a mental health problem as someone who has another type of health problem. “, did he declare.

“You know, there’s not a lot of hesitation in talking about my mom or my dad or my kid with cancer,” Blunt continued. “We should get to where we can talk about mental health with the same ease, understanding that it is a health issue. It’s almost always, almost 100% of the time, a problem that can be dealt with in a way that people can continue to be part of their family and community.

SOURCES: October 18, 2022, press briefing with: Xavier Becerra, secretary, US Health and Human Services; U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.); U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.); sergeant. Chad Matthews, Supervisor, Crisis Response Support Section, Montgomery County Police Department, Maryland

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