The Latest News from ACA

President Biden Signs American Rescue Plan Into Law

Mar 12, 2021
Included within the bill, the Biden Administration will provide nearly $2.5 billion in funding to states and territories to address the nation’s mental illness and addiction crisis.

On Thursday, March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319) into law, finalizing an early policy goal that would send much-needed aid to millions of Americans still struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic. Included within the bill, the Biden Administration will provide nearly $2.5 billion in funding to states and territories to address the nation’s mental illness and addiction crisis. Below are many of the mental health provisions included in the legislation:

  • $20 million towards mental health programs for health care professionals and first responders to be administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
  • $10 million for grants to address the problems of high-risk or medically underserved persons who experience violence-related stress.
  • $30 million towards prioritizing mental health needs of regional and national significance with respect to advancing wellness and resiliency in education.
  • $20 million for carrying out Youth Suicide Prevention Programs.
  • $100 million for purposes of carrying out mental and behavioral health education and training grants.
  • $80 million for fiscal year 2021, for mental health programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This provision requires HRSA, in awarding funds, to consider the needs of rural and medically underserved communities as well as awarding grants or contracts to health professions schools, academics health centers, State or local governments, Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations, or other appropriate public or private nonprofit entities.
  • $40 million towards mental health programs for health workforce professionals, to be administered by HRSA, to use the funds to award grants or contracts to entities providing health care, including health care provider associations and Federally qualified health centers, to establish, enhance, or expand evidence-informed programs or protocols to promote mental and behavioral health among their providers.
  • $50 million for mental health programs to be administered by the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. The provisions direct the Secretary to use these funds to award grants to State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, Tribal organizations, nonprofit community-based entities, and primary and behavioral health organizations to address increased community behavioral health needs worsened by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • $80 million to the Secretary of HHS for fiscal year 2021, in addition to amounts otherwise available and out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to remain available until expended, for carrying out pediatric mental health care access grants.
  • $420 million, to remain available until expended, for grants to communities and community organizations that meet the criteria for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.
  • $30 million for infectious disease prevention programs among individuals with substance use disorder.

ACA will continue to monitor the progress of the law and will report any future developments that may support the counseling profession to ACA membership. If you have questions or would like to become involved in ACA’s advocacy efforts, please reach out to the ACA Government Affairs and Public Policy Team at advocacy@counseling.org.

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