This Mental Health Awareness Month, which is also Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is announcing a nearly $3.5 million five-year grant opportunity to develop a Center of Excellence, advancing behavioral health care for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities while reducing behavioral health-related disparities.
The AANHPI Behavioral Health Center of Excellence will promote culturally and linguistically appropriate behavioral health information and practices; establish a steering committee to identify emerging issues; and provide training, technical assistance, and consultation to practitioners, educators, and community organizations. Training topics include addressing mental health impacts caused by unconscious bias and hate against AANHPI communities.
The Center of Excellence will also develop accessible, public-facing infographics and other materials that address behavioral health, including those that provide data disaggregated by race and ethnicity, as well as best practices for improving engagement and retention of AANHPI behavioral health professionals. It joins SAMHSA’s other Centers of Excellence directed at behavioral health disparities, including the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence and the LGBTQI+ Behavioral Health Equity Center of Excellence.
“This new Center of Excellence is one of the many ways we’re advancing equity in health care,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “When people seek behavioral health and other types of care, they should not encounter barriers because of their race and ethnicity. The Center for Excellence will help ensure behavioral health care is delivered more equitably to members of the AANHPI community in alignment with our Equity Action Plan.”
“This new Center of Excellence will provide comprehensive resources to ensure provider organizations are welcoming and inclusive environments for the many AANHPI communities across America,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA. “People battling mental health and substance use issues deserve access to culturally informed, evidence-based care to facilitate their recovery.”
The HHS Healthy People 2030 initiative defines health equity as “the attainment of the highest level of health for all people.” The initiative goes on to say that “achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities.” The Center of Excellence will help advance behavioral health equity, which is a critical component of holistic healthcare.
Funding of up to $700,000 each year for five years (totaling approximately $3.5 million) will be awarded to one grantee in late fiscal year 2022. Those eligible to apply for the grant include: states; political subdivisions of States; Indian tribes or tribal organizations (as defined in section 5304 of title 25), health facilities, or programs operated by or in accordance with a contract or grant with the Indian Health Service, or other domestic public or private nonprofit entities. View the notice of funding opportunity for this grant here: samhsa.gov/grants/grant-announcements/fg-22-001.
Anyone seeking treatment for mental health or substance use issues should call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) or should visit findtreatment.samhsa.gov.