Pa. to get part of $10M grant for behavioral health

Margarita Cambest
York Dispatch
  • Eight of 24 states that applied for federal funding for mental health and substance abuse services will receive grants.

Pennsylvania will receive a cut of up to $10 million in federal funding for behavioral health treatment, which includes mental health and substance abuse treatment.

According to Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provided so-called demonstration grants to eight states, including Pennsylvania. 

“This grant is one of the most significant investments in community behavioral health in decades and has the potential to transform the way these services are delivered in the commonwealth,” Dallas said in a news release. 

Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas tours Pennsylvania Counseling Services, 128 N. George St., and discusses the investments included in the 2016-17 budget to combat the opioid-abuse epidemic in Pennsylvania, Monday, Aug. 15, 2016.  John A. Pavoncello photo

The grants ask states to adopt "innovative approaches in the delivery of community-based behavioral health services" as part of an effort to integrate behavioral health with physical health care. Centers are encouraged to increase the use of evidence-based practices.

Integrated care is the coordination of general and behavioral health. Instead of referring patients right away to a behavioral health provider or not having the training to recognize early symptoms of mental illness, primary care and behavioral health providers may collaborate when designing treatment. Physicians also might receive more training to recognize early signs.

New inpatient substance-abuse center opening

Twenty-four states applied to receive the federal dollars. The final amount each state receives will be based on how much Pennsylvania residents use the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic program, which will serve adults with serious mental illness, children with emotional disturbances and those with substance abuse disorders.

Pennsylvania previously received an $886,200 grant to decide which clinics would receive the federal funding. Based on that research, centers in Berks, Clearfield, Jefferson, Philadelphia, Delaware, Allegheny, Montgomery, Erie and McKean counties have been chosen to implement the programming in July.