The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is allocating $46.8m of funding to enhance mental health services across the country.

The funding will be provided through Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

It is a strategic move to support President Joe Biden’s Unity Agenda, which focuses on addressing the mental health crisis and opioid epidemic.

The funding also aligns with HHS’s Overdose Prevention Strategy, which is intended to reduce mental health and overdose crises across the US.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said: “Continuing to invest in informed and equitable approaches to mental health and substance use is essential to the health and well-being of individuals and families.

“These grants directly impact the behavioural health of communities around the nation and are a critical part of the commitment of the Biden-Harris Administration to enhancing accessibility of evidence-based, effective behavioural health care services.”

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The investment targets various aspects of mental health, including youth mental health, improving peer recovery and recovery support, expanding the behavioural health workforce, and increasing the availability of culturally competent behavioural care in the US.

Of the total funding, $15.4m will be dedicated to the ‘Minority Fellowship Program’, which is designed to reduce health disparities and enhance behavioural health outcomes for racial and ethnic groups by training practitioners to serve diverse communities more effectively.

HHS Mental Health and Substance Use assistant secretary and SAMHSA leader Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said: “We are pleased to announce nearly $50m in funding opportunities, a significant investment in strengthening the quality of and access to behavioural health services and supports across the country.

“This funding will improve quality of care for underserved populations, support suicide prevention and early intervention strategies for young people, make significant contributions to integration of primary and behavioural health care, and provide essential training and technical assistance to those working in the field.”