Nearly $15M of ARPA Block Grant Funding to help behavioral healthcare services

Published 3:23 am Tuesday, February 1, 2022

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov.  Mike DeWine announced on Wednesday that $14.9 million in American Rescue Plan Supplemental Block Grants funds will be used to help strengthen Ohio’s statewide mental health and addiction care services system, specifically in the areas of youth prevention and early intervention services.

“We know that 75 percent of substance use disorders and mental illness begin before the age of 25, and prevention and early intervention strategies are vital to building resilience and opportunities for long-term health,” DeWine said. “These dollars will make key investments in substance use disorder and mental health prevention programs and treatment services to help Ohioans live their best and healthiest lives.”

The funds will be distributed over the next four years and are broken down as follows:

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Primary Prevention

• $5 million ($1.25 million per year) for community coalitions and youth-led programs to address marijuana and alcohol prevention. These funds will be awarded on a competitive basis with a goal of reaching up to 250,000 individuals over the next four years.

• $5.4 million to support public health campaigns designed to enhance the perception of harm of alcohol and marijuana use.

Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis

• $2.3 million to fund two pilot First Episode Psychosis Coordinated Specialty Care Virtual Teams in year two and six additional teams in years three and four. Using telehealth to expand services, specialists at the Ohio State University Early Psychosis Intervention Center will provide medication management, psychotherapy and family support and education. Individuals with first episode psychosis will access specific coordinated specialty care services through their local community mental health center.

• $307,926 for the purposes of adopting Healthcare, Outcomes, Network, Education (HONE) developed by Yale University to better collect outcomes on Ohio’s First Episode Psychosis clients.

As part of the ARPA block grant funding, OhioMHAS is also this month releasing $2.98 million in COVID mitigation funds to Ohio’s Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Boards) to be used by boards and community behavioral health providers for COVID testing, PPE purchases, contact tracing, healthy environment maintenance and other efforts to prevent spread of COVID-19, as well as for behavioral health services for individuals in short-term housing who are at elevated risk of contracting COVID. These are one-time allocations to Ohio’s ADAMH boards for local distribution.

The American Rescue Plan Act, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, was passed by Congress in March and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11.

The $1.9 trillion package was passed on a largely party line vote, with all Democrats, except two, supporting passage and all Republicans opposing.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, whose district covers Lawrence County, voted against the package. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, voted in favor, while U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, opposed it.