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Improving Community Safety and Wellness

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The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

In 2022, SAMHSA received unprecedented supplemental funding to address the nation’s mental health and substance use crises, and make our communities safer, thanks to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, also known as BSCA, which President Joe Biden signed into law on June 25, 2022.

BSCA provided SAMHSA with $800 million over four years, from Fiscal Years 2022 to 2025. SAMHSA’s use of the supplemental BSCA funding supports the President’s Unity Agenda to address the national mental health crisis and overdose epidemic. Of the $800 million, $150 million was dedicated to the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and the remainder to SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). See a full list of SAMHSA’s CMHS BSCA grantees (PDF | 250 KB).

In June 2024, SAMHSA issued guidance to states and communities on using federal funding to support mental health services for LGBTQI+ youth, including examples from BSCA grantees.

BSCA Impact on Grantees

Listen to some of our grantees talk about the impact of BSCA funding on their communities.

“BSCA represents an important step to strengthen the nation’s mental health care system, improve access to behavioral health care, and bring supports and services into schools, communities, and areas that have experienced trauma or natural disasters.”

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President Biden's BSCA has helped SAMHSA to provide critical additional support for its grants and programs:

  • Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) ensure access to coordinated comprehensive behavioral health care. CCBHCs serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use, regardless of their ability to pay, place of residence, or age.
    • BSCA gave HHS the authority to add 10 new states to the CCBHC Medicaid Demonstration program every two years. This program provides states with sustainable funding that helps them expand access to mental health and substance use services. In 2023, BSCA appropriated funding for SAMHSA to award 15 states with one-year CCBHC state planning grants that allowed the states to be eligible for addition into the CCBHC Medicaid Demonstration program. SAMHSA plans to award 15 additional states with planning grants in Fiscal Year 2025.
  • Community Mental Health Services Block Grants (MHBG) provide funding to all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and six Pacific jurisdictions to support the development and expansion of comprehensive, community-based, mental health service systems.
    • BSCA allowed SAMHSA to allocate additional MHBG funding to all states and territories, with the recommendation that the funding be spent to address mental health emergency preparedness and crisis response efforts. SAMHSA sent a letter (PDF | 228 KB) to state mental health commissioners recommending that state behavioral health systems examine requirements to address mental health needs in communities in the aftermath of traumatic events such as mass shootings.
  • Project Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education (AWARE) is a program that helps schools develop sustainable infrastructure for school-based mental health programs and services.
    • BSCA allowed SAMHSA to allocate funding to support new grantees in 18 states, and so far, they have screened more than 88,000 students for additional support and services and trained more than 35,000 people in de-escalation tactics, non-violence crisis prevention, suicide prevention, and mental health prevention/promotion.
  • Trauma-Informed Services in Schools (TISS) is a program that increases student access to evidence-based and culturally relevant trauma support services and mental health care.
    • BSCA allowed SAMHSA to allocate funding to new grantees in six states, and to date, grantees have trained more than 3,000 individuals in crisis protocol and de-escalation strategies, developing positive staff and student relationships, and mental health support strategies; screened more than 4,000 students for trauma; and referred more than 1,000 students to early intervention, treatment, and trauma support services.
  • Resiliency in Communities after Stress and Trauma (Re-CAST) is a program that promotes resilience and equity and prevents violence in communities that have recently faced civil unrest, community violence, and/or collective trauma.
    • BSCA allowed SAMHSA to allocate additional funding to new grantees in 7 states. To date, the grantees have provided trauma-informed behavioral health services to more than 11,000 youth, young adults, and family members and have trained more than 2,200 mental health professionals in trauma-informed approaches and more than 3,500 others in trauma-informed approaches, violence prevention, and mental health literacy. They have also reached more than 30,000 community members through mental health awareness messages including mental health symptoms and resources.
  • The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing mental health-related distress, including thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crises or any other type of emotional distress.
    • BSCA allowed SAMHSA to allocate additional funding to states, territories and Tribes, as well as to the network administrator, to improve and enhance 988 services. These investments have helped states, territories, and Tribes to hire crisis counselors for improved local response, ensure national backup and expand services.
  • Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT) is a program that prepares and train school personnel, emergency first responders, law enforcement, and others to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health challenges to enable early intervention.
    • BSCA allowed SAMHSA to allocate additional funding to support more than 230 new grantees in 45 states, DC, and three territories. Since the start of the grant, the grantees have trained more than 130,000 community members and more than 40,000 primary and specialty medical providers in mental health awareness training and referred more than 83,000 individuals in their communities to mental health or related services.
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative (NCTSI) is a program that improves treatment and services for children, adolescents, and families who have experienced traumatic events.
    • BSCA allowed SAMHSA to allocate additional funding to 21 new grantees in 15 states. To date, reached nearly 800,000 individuals with mental health awareness messages on topics including the impacts of trauma on youth behavioral health, adverse childhood experiences, and stigma reduction; screened nearly 7,000 children and youth for symptoms of trauma and mental health issues; and provided services to more than 2,700 children and youth.
Last Updated
Last Updated: 06/25/2024
Last Updated