Virginia receives $2 million grant to address behavioral health impacts of COVID-19

Posted at 3:07 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 15:12:20-04

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia has received a $2 million federal grant to address the behavioral health impacts of COVID-19.

“While we focus on Virginia's physical health during this epidemic, we know that this has taken a toll on mental health as well," said Governor Ralph Northam Monday. "Some Virginians are feeling isolation or even depression. Some people are using alcohol or other substances as a crutch or stress from job loss or experiencing family challenges."

“We expect the demand for behavioral health services to increase and so we need to be able to provide treatment,” Northam added.

The grant, issued by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will help fund direct treatment services in three areas, including:

• Increasing CSB Capacity – Increasing the capacity of CSBs to provide continuity of care and decrease substance use for individuals with serious mental illness and/or substance-use disorders via telehealth treatment and supports;

• Addressing COVID-19-Related Behavioral Health Issues – Improving the behavioral health of individuals in the community experiencing moderate mental illness and/or substance-use disorders as a result of COVID-19 via telehealth treatment and supports; and

• Supporting Healthcare Workers – Improving wellness and decreasing symptoms of stress and substance use for healthcare workers via specialized virtual supports and partnerships with hospital systems.

The grant money will go through 40 Community Service boards and the Virginia hospital and Health Care Association.

“CSB is critical as we battle the mental health impacts of this pandemic,” said Northam. “This grant will help our CSBs continue to provide outpatient treatment for behavioral health and substance use via telehealth the behavioral health treatment provided by our CDC.”

Northam says the grant will also help provide medication assisted treatment for opioid addictions, along with recovery services, recovery housing, and support to healthcare workers who may need behavioral health treatment through partnerships with hospital systems.

The grant funds will be available through August 19, 2021.