Colorado receives $ 94 million federal funding for behavioral health services – State of Reform

The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) will receive more than $ 94 million in additional federal grants to increase addiction and mental health services over the next four years, as the state responds to a increased demand caused by the covid19 pandemic.

OBH worked with stakeholders, including the state’s Behavioral Health Planning and Advisory Council and a diverse group of providers, to determine priorities for stimulus funds. Among dozens of projects, OBH will use the first round of stimulus dollars, totaling more than $ 43 million, to fund equity, diversity and inclusion efforts; peer support and recovery services; and the treatment of people with severe mental illness (SMI) and substance use disorders.

“As we face exacerbated behavioral health needs in Colorado, this funding will help us meet COVID-induced demands and even expand services across the state,” said Robert Werthwein, director of ‘OBH. “We are grateful to our federal partners for recognizing the importance of the problem and for giving us the tools to deal with the crisis.”

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), the federal government Administration of Addiction and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) awarded OBH an additional $ 27.1 million for the state’s Drug Prevention and Treatment Block Grants (SABG) program and an additional $ 16.2 million for its block grants program for Community Mental Health Services (MHBG) which must be spent by March 14, 2023. Block grants are administered by OBH and are non-competitive federal awards that fund behavioral health services in all 50 states.

In addition to this boost, OBH will receive an additional $ 23.4 million and $ 28.1 million respectively for the SABG and MHBG programs, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) stimulus plan. OBH is due to spend those dollars by September 30, 2025 and is working on a spending plan to bolster programs that have seen increased demand during the pandemic. Many of the priorities of the CRRSA funds will be extended with the ARPA funds. The state’s plan for ARPA funds is expected on July 2.

The preliminary expenditure plan for the $ 43 million in CRRSA funds includes the following allocations for the next two years. Funding amounts could change based on bills passed in the 2022 legislative session or emerging priorities.

Mental health and addiction financing plan for CRRSA funds

  • $ 5.28 million for peer recovery support services related to SUD treatment providers, including those who have been involuntarily engaged in SUD treatment. Funding will be made available through State Managed Service Bodies
  • $ 5 million for residential drug treatment, withdrawal management (detox) and involuntary engagement services
  • $ 4.9 million for workforce support, including training peer specialists and efforts to recruit more Black, Indigenous and Colored (BIPOC) people in health behavioral
  • $ 4.84 million for mental health support programs for children, adolescents and young adults
  • $ 3 million for aggressive community treatment or community treatment for adults with MMS
  • $ 2.8 million for Individual placement and support, a program that helps people with mental illness and / or substance use disorders find and keep employment
  • $ 2.6 million for programs that connect mothers and pregnant and parenting with behavioral health and recovery services
  • $ 2.35 million for the Behavioral Health Crisis System, including safe transportation and marketing to diverse populations
  • $ 1.875 million for the state Moving forward together prevention campaign
  • $ 1.875 million to expand substance abuse testing in schools
  • $ 1.68 million for youth substance abuse prevention programs, particularly in BIPOC and LGBTQ communities
  • $ 1.5 million for peer mental health and addiction services statewide, including tribal and Latinx communities
  • $ 1.05 million for salvage housing and housing assistance for people with SMI who are not housed
  • $ 700,000 for SUD services for tribal people across the state
  • $ 600,000 for a behavioral health public education campaign related to the impacts of the pandemic
  • $ 600,000 for a position of Director of Equity and Community Engagement, translation of OBH forms and branding materials, and community outreach grants for organizations working with EDI populations
  • $ 450,000 for the OBH bed capacity register

Approximately $ 2.3 million of CRRSA grant funds will support the administrative costs of OBH.

This press release was provided by the Colorado Department of Human Services.


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Rhonda Lee

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