The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2014 for the Now Is the Time: Minority Fellowship Program-Youth (NITT- MFP-Y) grant program. The NITT-MFP-Y is part of the President’s Plan, Now Is the Time, to increase access to mental health services for youth in America. This program expands the focus of the current MFP program to support master’s level trained behavioral health providers in the fields of psychology, social work, professional counseling, marriage and family therapy, and nursing. The purpose of this grant program is to reduce health disparities and improve behavioral health care outcomes for racially and ethnically diverse populations by increasing the number of culturally competent master’s level behavioral health professionals serving children, adolescents, and populations in transition to adulthood (aged 16 – 25) in an effort to increase access to, and quality of, behavioral health care for this age group.
The mental health and substance abuse needs of racial and ethnic minority communities within the United States have been historically underserved due to a variety of factors including a limited number of trained professionals equipped with the language skills or cultural competency training that impact effective services delivery to this population. In 1974, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) established the MFP to enhance the services to minority communities through specialized training of mental health professionals in psychiatry, nursing, social work, and psychology. In 1992, SAMHSA was established, and the MFP was transferred from NIMH to CMHS in SAMHSA. Eligibility for this grant was expanded by Congress in FY 2007 to include a fifth professional association, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.
The 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act provided funding to allow SAMHSA to increase the pool of culturally competent mental health professionals by further expanding eligibility to professional counselors to participate in the program. Professional counselors are trained mental health professionals who deliver culturally appropriate behavioral health services to diverse populations.
The 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, appropriated funding for this expansion of the MFP program to support behavioral health professionals available to address the behavioral health needs of at risk children, adolescent, and populations transitioning to adulthood (ages 16 – 25).
SAMHSA has demonstrated that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover from mental and substance use disorders. Behavioral health services improve health status and reduce health care and other costs to society. Continued improvement in the delivery and financing of prevention, treatment and recovery support services provides a cost effective opportunity to advance and protect the Nation’s health. To continue to improve the delivery and financing of prevention, treatment and recovery support services, SAMHSA has identified eight Strategic Initiatives to focus the Agency’s work on people and emerging opportunities. More information is available at the SAMHSA website.
The NITT- MFP-Y seeks to address health disparities and the need to train providers by providing stipends, specialized training and mentoring supports to master’s level individuals who have demonstrated commitment in working in underserved communities and working with underserved populations post fellowship (See Appendix H of the RFA: Addressing Behavioral Health Disparities).
Minority Fellowship Program-Youth grants are authorized under Section 520A as amended. This announcement addresses Healthy People 2020 Mental Health and Mental Disorders Topic area HP2020-MHMD and Substance Abuse Topic Area HP 2020-SA.