The Biden administration said Tuesday it is making $15 million in grant funding available to community clinics that provide 24-7 help to people suffering from mental health or substance abuse issues, regardless of their ability to pay.
Mr. Biden said the money stems from the bipartisan gun safety and mental health legislation he signed this summer after a series of mass shootings.
“Mental health affects all of us, which is why I named tackling the mental health crisis a core pillar of my Unity Agenda. As I outlined in my State of the Union address last March, we can and must do more to transform how we address mental health in America,” Mr. Biden said.
The new funding is supposed to supplement and expand support for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). The program received a $300 million infusion in September from other funding streams to establish new clinics or improve existing ones.
The clinics operate around the clock and must provide routine outpatient care within 10 business days after an initial contact to prevent people from languishing on waiting lists, the administration said.
“For too long, emergency rooms and law enforcement have served as the de facto mental health care delivery system in our country,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican. “Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics are changing that, helping people get the comprehensive behavioral health care they need when they need it.”
The effort is part of a broader push to address a “mental health crisis” in America, with concern about rampant drug overdoses, bullying of youth through social media and social alienation following the COVID-19 restrictions.
Mr. Biden and his team often say they are trying to erase the firewall that appears to exist between mental and physical health.
“Behavioral health is health. Period. There should be no distinction,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “This investment will bring us closer to that reality.”