Call centers struggle to hire for nation’s new mental health crisis line

Illinois Newsroom, 6/9/22

Some have described 988 as “911 for mental health,” and lawmakers hope the three-digit number will make it easier for the 50 million Americans with a mental illness to get help. Today, fewer than half get treatment. As many as 12 million people could reach out to 988 in its first year, according to federal officials, quadruple the number the Lifeline served in 2020. The people setting up 988 agree the counselors answering these calls, chats and texts will be critical to the new line achieving its goals. But with just six weeks before it goes live, hundreds of positions remain unfilled — putting those looking to the line for help at risk. It also makes it more likely that those who have been hired will end up overworked.

HHS announces first-ever behavioral health recovery innovation challenge

National Association of Counties Blog, 6/7/22

On May 18, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), announced its first-ever behavioral health Recovery Innovation Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to identify innovations that advance recovery developed by peer-run or community-based organizations and their partners such as county or state governments, health systems, hospitals or health plans….The Challenge provides $400,000 and will offer up to ten awards. The deadline for submission is July 15, 2022. All submission materials must be submitted through the SAMHSA Recovery Innovation Challenge page on the U.S. Challenge website.

Here are the likely mental health components of a gun legislation deal

The Washington Post, 6/13/22

The Senate is a major step closer to enacting the most significant response to gun violence in decades. A bipartisan group of lawmakers clinched a deal on a framework for modest new gun restrictions, as well as new spending on mental health and school security…Some parts of the framework — which 20 senators signed on to — were vague on details. Here’s the top line of what we know so far about the mental health components of the deal: A nationwide expansion of a key way of funding community behavioral health clinics; Funds for programs helping families and youth access mental health services via telehealth; Funding to encourage states to implement so-called “red flag” laws that let authorities keep guns away from those deemed by a judge to represent a potential threat; Beefing up mental health services in schools, such as through early identification and intervention programs….one major plank of the agreement centers on legislation from Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) to extend a key funding mechanism for certified community behavioral health clinics to all states. Such clinics provide 24/7 crisis care; outpatient mental health and addiction treatment; care coordination with emergency rooms; and more.


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