Grants Will Promote Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care Systems

Programs that seek to better integrate behavioral healthcare and primary healthcare systems will receive a total of $25.9 million in grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The four-year grants primarily are focused on the needs of people with serious mental illness (SMI) and will “help address disparities in treatment by providing more people in need with better access to screening, and care management — including wellness programs encouraging more physical activity (exercise), better nutrition, smoking cessation, and help with medications,” according to interim SAMHSA administrator Eric Broderick.

“These programs are aimed at improving the physical health of people with SMI by supporting communities to coordinate and integrate primary care services into publicly funded community mental health and other community-based behavioral health settings,” according to the grant announcement.

“By building the necessary partnerships and infrastructure to support this goal, the expected outcome is for grantees to enter into partnerships to develop or expand their offering of primary healthcare services for people with SMI, resulting in improved health status.”

Thirteen community based programs have been selected to receive the grants, with awards capped at $500,000 annually. The program is administered by the Center for Mental Health Services.

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