Vice President Joe Biden will announce today that $100 million will soon be available to increase access to mental health services and improve mental health facilities as part of what the White House says is its ongoing commitment to help individuals experiencing mental health problems.
Biden will discuss the new funding during a meeting at the White House with families who lost loved ones during last December's shooting in Newtown, Conn., as well as mental health advocates. The funding will come from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The White House says HHS will soon issue a $50 million funding opportunity to help Community Health Centers establish or expand behavioral health services for people living with mental illness or addiction. Community Health Centers can use these new funds, made available through the Affordable Care Act, for efforts such as hiring new mental health professionals and adding mental health and substance abuse disorder services.
Also, USDA has set a goal of financing $50 million for the construction, expansion, or improvement of mental health facilities in rural areas over the next three years. The funds, made available through the department’s Community Facilities direct loan program, can be used to pay professional fees and put in place innovative tools such as telemedicine, which will allow additional mental health professionals to serve rural communities from a distance.