$12.4M to be invested into the West Virginia substance abuse and mental health services

According to an article by the Wheeling Intelligencer, West Virginia received two federal grants equaling 12.4 million dollars to be invested in the state’s substance abuse and mental health programs and services. U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito announced the grants to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services on March 15 in a news release. In the announcement, both senators noted that the pandemic has caused a lot of people to undergo excessive stress, and many have suffered from increased isolation and hardships this past year.

The difficulties people have been forced to face have caused development of mental health issues and opioid addiction and other substance abuse. The news release states, “$7,904,019 will go to the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, and $4,503,493 will go to the Mental Health Services Block Grant.” Back in December 2020, Sen. Manchin also passed a bill known as the Crisis Care Improvement and Suicide Prevention Act (CCISPA). “The bill provides an increase of $35 million to the Mental Health Block Grant and includes a five percent set aside for evidence-based crisis care programs, according to a press release from Senator Manchin’s office,” according to the previous linked news release.

Services that will be provided include crisis call centers, mobile crisis services, and crisis stabilization programs. Being that we currently deal with a lot of virtual meetings, these services allow people to have immediate virtual help. According to the CCISPA, “28% of people experiencing significant disruption in their lives due to coronavirus reported major negative mental health impacts…” There is no doubt there has been a mental toll on people since the start of the pandemic.

This investment can help a lot of people. With the current opioid epidemic going on in this area, the added services and help offered to residents can help prevent overdoses and the increase of addiction and substance abuse. According to the Drug Abuse website, “In West Virginia, drug overdose deaths involving opioids totaled 702 (a rate of 42.4) in 2018.” The site also says, “In 2018, West Virginia providers wrote 69.3 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, compared to the average U.S. rate of 51.4 prescriptions. This was among the top ten rates in the U.S. that year.”

There is no arguing that West Virgina has been in need of support and assistance for substance abuse and mental health. Hopefully the two grants will help see a decline in deaths and overall substance abuse.