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SAMHSA Announces Winners of Equity Challenge Identifying Successful Outreach Strategies to Connect Historically Underserved Racial and Ethnic Communities to Services

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is excited to announce the winners of its Behavioral Health Equity Challenge. Winners of the challenge presented exciting approaches to effective outreach and engage with racial and ethnic underserved individuals in order to foster behavioral health equity throughout the country.

The winners of the Challenge are:

  • Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers/DBA Camden Coalition (New Jersey)
  • Centro de Ayuda y Esperanza Latina, Inc. (Massachusetts)
  • Coastal Horizons (North Carolina)
  • Comunilife, Inc. (New York)
  • Mt. Olive Baptist Church (Ohio)
  • North Carolina Youth Violence Prevention Center
  • Prevention Partnership, Inc. (Illinois)
  • Ser Familia, Inc. (Georgia)
  • Southcentral Foundation (Alaska)
  • Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center (Hawaii)

The challenge prize for each winner is $50,000. Four awards are dedicated to the winning strategies that address mental health; three awards are dedicated to the winning strategies that address substance use prevention; three awards are dedicated to the winning strategies that address substance use treatment, respectively. The winners were selected from a total of 427 submissions.

“The judges of SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Equity Challenge were unanimous in saying how difficult it was to select winners from such an impressive pool of contestants,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, and the leader of SAMHSA. “We look forward to building on the organizations’ best practices. SAMHSA continues to work to eliminate the systemic barriers that prevent all Americans from accessing behavioral health resources equitably.”

Through President Biden’s Mental Health Strategy and other initiatives, the Biden-Harris Administration is leading a whole-of-society approach to transform behavioral health services and bolster support, particularly for underserved communities. In the past two years, federal agencies have worked to eliminate barriers to care; expand the full continuum of prevention, treatment, and recovery services; and prioritize integration of these services into settings where they can be more easily accessed. Read more information on the Behavioral Health Equity Challenge on SAMHSA’s website and at the federal Challenge website.

Anyone in the United States seeking treatment for substance use or mental health issues should call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) or visit FindTreatment.gov. If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. Anyone who needs help with the first steps in pursuing help can find guidance at FindSupport.gov.

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Reporters with questions should send inquiries to media@samhsa.hhs.gov.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to lead public health and service delivery efforts that promote mental health, prevent substance misuse, and provide treatments and supports to foster recovery while ensuring equitable access and better outcomes.

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