American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Supplemental Block Grant
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, directed the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide additional funds to support states through Block Grants to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for Americans with substance use disorders. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated severe and pervasive health and social inequities in America, including the critical importance of supporting people with substance use disorders. As the pandemic swept through the states, societal stress and distress over this newly emerging disaster created the need for nimble and evolving policy and planning in addressing mental and substance use disorder services.
Substance Abuse Block Grant (SABG)
The substance use disorder (SUD) prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support services continuum includes various evidence-based services and supports for individuals, families, and communities. Integral to the SABG are its efforts to support health equity through its priority focus on the provision of SUD prevention, treatment, and recovery support services to identified underserved populations. These underserved and marginalized populations include, but are not limited to, pregnant women and women with dependent children; persons who inject drugs; persons using opioids and/or stimulant drugs associated with drug overdoses; persons at risk for HIV, TB, and Hepatitis; persons experiencing homelessness; persons involved in the justice system; persons involved in the child welfare system; Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); LGBTQ individuals; rural populations; and other underserved groups.
Mental Health Block Grant (MHBG)
States must spend the MHBG funds for adults designated to have a serious mental illness (SMI), children determined to have a serious emotional disturbance (SED), and first-episode psychosis or early SMI programs. SAMHSA encourages states to consider a focus on support of a behavioral health crisis continuum. An effective statewide crisis system affords equal access to crisis support that meets needs anytime, anyplace, and for anyone. This includes those living in remote areas and underserved communities as well as youth, older adults, persons of diverse backgrounds, and other marginalized populations; the crisis service continuum will need to be able to equally and adeptly serve everyone.