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Governor Walz Announces $2 Million COVID-19 Grant for Mental Health Support

Funding will support mental health care for health care providers, first responders, and those with serious mental illness who have been impacted by COVID-19

Governor Tim Walz announced that the state has received a $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support mental health care in Minnesota. The funding will be used for health care providers, first responders, and those with serious mental illness and substance use disorders who have been impacted by COVID-19 and are unable to pay for behavioral health services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an incredible toll on Minnesotans, including our mental health and wellbeing,” said Governor Walz. “I am grateful for this funding from the federal government, which will go directly to Minnesotans in need of mental health care, including our health care and first responder heroes, as well as those with serious mental health needs who are unable to pay for their care due to the hardships of the pandemic.”

“Our state’s health care providers and first responders have been through so much this past year, and we owe it to them to ensure mental health care is affordable and accessible,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “We also know that the COVID-19 pandemic has made those living with serious mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders even more vulnerable. This funding will be critical to ensuring those Minnesotans can continue to receive the care and support they need.”

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) will issue money to seven Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) across the state, anticipating that CCBHCs will assess and provide behavioral health care to approximately 6,000 Minnesotans.

“This grant will help the State support health care providers and first responders who have experienced tremendous stress since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “It also will allow us to provide services to individuals with serious mental illness and substance use disorders who have been impacted by COVID-19 and people at risk of developing a mental health condition because of the pandemic.”

With 40 locations across the state serving 27 counties and adjacent to or neighboring seven Tribal Nations, CCBHCs provide integrated mental health and substance use disorder services and coordinate with physical health care and social services. They are designed to serve individuals of all ages, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay.

DHS anticipates that 70% of the grants will be used to provide behavioral health services to individuals with severe mental illness or substance use disorders, due to their high vulnerability.

Removing barriers to behavioral health services while reducing exposure to COVID-19 is DHS’s top priority in administering this grant, so some of the funding will be used to expand telephone and video access to services at the CCBHCs.

In response to well-documented health disparities and the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, an important goal of the CCBHC model in Minnesota is to increase access and availability of behavioral services to underserved BIPOC (Black, indigenous and people of color) communities, including non-native English speakers. CCBHCs coordinate with Tribal Nations and both urban and rural Indian health clinics to ensure access to culturally responsive services.

More information about CCBHCs is available on the DHS website.

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