The Mississippi Department of Mental Health has recently received millions in federal funding from two grants. In total, the state will take in over $20.5 million in order to provide resources to mental health and substance abuse services.
The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG), totaled at over $7.5 million, is aimed toward “adults with serious mental illness and children with serious emotional disturbances.” The other $12 million comes from the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG), which goes to fund services that help pregnant women, dependent children, intravenous drug users and primary prevention services.
“This funding will allow the state to increase access to services, particularly increasing access to mental health and substance use needs as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” DMH Executive Director Wendy Bailey said. “There is no doubt that the pandemic has impacted our overall mental health, whether from losses we have endured over the past year or the isolation and social distancing measures we have taken to limit the spread of this virus.”
According to the Department of Mental Health, calls to the DMH helpline and calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline have increased over the past year. From July 2020 to December 2020, the DMH helpline received approximately 5,004 calls. In the same period during the previous year, there were around 2,000 less calls.
Calls to the Mississippi call center for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline increased by 875 during the same period in 2020 compared to 2019.