Baltimore, MD—The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today announced $55 million in grant funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). The funding, slated to begin distribution in November, will provide relief to behavioral health patients and service providers who have been impacted by the pandemic through more than 20 new and expanded initiatives.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Marylanders with serious mental illness and substance use disorders, including the youngest among us, in ways we will continue to understand over time,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “Concentrating now on the needs of these populations and ensuring that accessible support is available is essential to our state’s recovery.”

MDH will award $27.8 million through the Mental Health Service Block Grant, which includes a 10 percent set-aside for early serious mental illness and first-episode psychosis and a five percent set-aside for crisis services. MDH will award another $27.5 million through the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, which includes a 20 percent set-aside for prevention services and five percent set-aside for HIV/AIDS services.  

MDH’s Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) surveyed the behavioral health field, consulted with local stakeholders, and identified national trends to determine the projects and programs in the public behavioral health system that would benefit from relief funding. Recipients include community organizations across Maryland, behavioral health providers, veterans’ groups, and universities.

The funding supports new mental health programs, including:

  • Caring Contacts suicide prevention intervention in Maryland’s emergency departments 
  • Expansion of Operation Roll Call
  • Workforce training for Peer Recovery Specialists to help individuals in crisis 
  • Early childhood mental health and education services for families with high-risk children
  • Maryland Essentials for Childhood, a statewide collective initiative focused on preventing and mitigating adverse childhood experiences
  • Involuntary commitment consultation
  • Workforce development for residential rehabilitation providers
  • Ask the Question training
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline transition to “988”
  • Impact of COVID-19 Systemic Changes in Child Mental Health Services on Retention of Vulnerable Youth in Care, a program to examine how the transition to telepsychiatry affects disparities in mental healthcare retention for youth in Medicaid 

The funding supports new substance use programs, including:

  • Child care and recovery housing for pregnant women and women with children during withdrawal management
  • Training for medication-assisted treatment and trauma-informed care
  • Early childhood mental health and parenting programs that support the statewide expansion of targeted opioid awareness and prevention activities

Funding will also support the continuation of existing programs including child crisis services, suicide prevention after hospitalization, and Maryland’s helpline (call 211, press 1).

“We reach every corner of Maryland’s public behavioral health system to understand and fill the gaps for all mental health and substance use disorder needs—including for our young people, pregnant women, and veterans,” said BHA Deputy Secretary Dr. Aliya Jones. “Through our extensive outreach and conversations with community partners and stakeholders, we will continue to identify how we can lead Maryland’s recovery by leaving no one behind.”

For more information about funding opportunities, contact Maryland’s local behavioral health authorities

For more information about ARPA, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/press-announcements/202105181200.


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