Neighborhood access stations to help remove barriers to care
Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) today awarded more than $2.5 million to 27 providers for community behavioral health services that will provide access to mental health and substance use treatment and recovery supports through telehealth. Grantees will use this one-time funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to expand access to these important services by removing location and technology barriers to care. Private behavioral health telehealth stations with the tools needed for virtual appointments will be set up in central locations for people who may be struggling to access the services they need. This includes community centers, food pantries, homeless shelters, libraries, long-term care facilities, and schools.
“Every Wisconsinite should have access to quality, affordable health care they need when they need it, and that includes behavioral and mental health services,” said Gov. Evers. “These grants will help ensure more folks can meet with a provider no matter where they live, closing gaps in services and building a behavioral health system that works for everyone at a time when treatment and recovery supports for mental health and substance use are more important than ever.”
The grantees include health care systems, counseling practices, and wellness centers.
“Through these grants we are promoting trauma informed and culturally responsive behavioral health services by meeting clients where they are,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “These grants will make it possible for behavioral health providers across Wisconsin to create secure, community-based access points for behavioral health services.”
From March until May of this year, behavioral health providers were invited to partner with community-based organizations and apply for funding to increase access to telehealth services. DHS received 38 applications through this competitive grant process. Providers who submitted applications that most aligned with the goals of this funding opportunity received grants. Awardees will begin receiving funding this fall and contracts will last for one year. All of the neighborhood telehealth access points should be operational by no later than summer 2023.
The grants announced today are part of a series of investments funded by the American Rescue Plan Act to make behavioral health services more available and accessible across Wisconsin. Last year, Gov. Evers and DHS committed $47 million in additional Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant and Community Mental Health Services Block Grant funding through 2025 to increase community-level prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery supports through partnerships with tribal, county, and nonprofit agencies. Earlier this year, Gov. Evers announced that nearly every school district across the state, including more than 450 local education agencies, will be awarded funds through the governor’s $15 million “Get Kids Ahead” initiative.
Call 211 to learn about community mental health and substance use services in Wisconsin.