Miss. receives $20.5M for mental health, substance use services

Miss. receives $20.5M for mental health, substance use services
SAMHSA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Source: Storyblocks)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Magnolia State has received some much-needed help for mental health and substance use services.

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) announced Wednesday one-time federal funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA.

DMH received $20.5 million, $12,938,191 in funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, and $7,556,583 for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant.

“This funding will allow the state to increase access to services, ” DMH Executive Director Wendy Bailey said. “There is no doubt that the pandemic has impacted our overall mental health, whether from losses we have endured over the past year or the isolation and social distancing measures we have taken to limit the spread of this virus.”

Calls to both the state’s mental health department and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline have increased over the past year. From July 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, there were 5,004 calls that came into the DMH Helpline. In the same period the prior year, there had been a total of 3,015 calls. In addition, there were 4,398 calls to the Mississippi call center for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for that same period in 2020, compared to 3,523 calls in the same time frame in 2019.

The additional funding will increase access to services for adults with serious mental illness and children with serious emotional disturbances. It will also increase access to services for pregnant women and women with dependent children, intravenous drug users, and primary prevention services.

DMH receives this funding each year, but this increased grant is a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the department says.

If you or someone you know needs help, go to mentalhealthms.com or call 1-877-210-8513.

SAMHSA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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