The State of Connecticut has been awarded a $2 million grant from the federal government to address behavioral health care needs of specific populations in the state that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

The grant, awarded to the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will support service needs over the next year and a half.

Its primary focus is to address the needs of persons with severe mental illness, substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders, youth with severe emotional disturbances and their families, individuals with less severe mental health conditions, and healthcare practitioners.

The funding will be used by DMHAS to launch the Connecticut COVID-19 Behavioral Health Response and Assistance (Connecticut COBHRA) initiative. It will be a collaborative effort that includes the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The grant will support a number of activities focused on improving the health outcomes of those individuals affected by COVID-19 including:

  • Purchasing telehealth equipment for DMHAS providers and DOC health care practitioners;
  • Enhancing eight DMHAS-funded mobile crisis teams with additional clinicians;
  • Providing staffing to a new statewide call center for adult crisis calls at United Way 2-1-1; and
  • Expanding the DCF Family Based Recovery services for youth and their families.

The grant will also increase services for victims of intimate partner violence and support the behavioral health needs of health care practitioners. A final component of the grant will provide support to employee assistance programs at DMHAS-funded agencies.

“This grant award will provide needed support for the state’s efforts to address the mental health needs of those most affected by COVID-19,” Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said. “The funding is vital as we face new challenges related to the coronavirus.”

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