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Rural Behavioral Health

Advancing health equity involves ensuring that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This also applies to behavioral health. In conjunction with quality services, this involves addressing social determinants, such as employment and housing stability, insurance status, proximity to services, culturally responsive care – all of which have an impact on behavioral health outcomes.
  • Grants & Programs

    Treatment, Recovery, and Workforce Support Grant

    In 2020, SAMHSA launched the Treatment, Recovery, and Workforce Support Grant, which currently has a cohort of twelve grant recipients. The purpose of this program is to implement evidence-based programs to support individuals in substance use disorder treatment and recovery to live independently and participate in the workforce. To achieve grant objectives, recipients collaborate with State and Local agencies responsible for a workforce investment activity, with Indian tribes or tribal organizations, and state agencies responsible for carrying out substance use disorder prevention and treatment programs, to implement innovative programs and strategies designed to meet the needs of employers and participants.

    Rural Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Training Grant

    SAMHSA recognizes the urgent need for emergency services in America’s rural areas and the critical role emergency medical service or EMS personnel serve throughout the Nation. For example, in cases of overdose or attempted suicide, EMS personnel provide critical response and lifesaving supports. The purpose of the Rural EMS Training grant program is to recruit and train EMS personnel in rural areas and to provide essential training for EMS staff. Since 2020 SAMHSA awarded $10.6 million to strengthen the role of EMS personnel in rural America. In 2022 we are planning to award another $5.4 million to continue to support this program.

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    Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Regional Centers (ROTA-R)

    The purpose of the ROTA-R is to develop and disseminate training and technical assistance addressing opioid and stimulant use affecting rural communities.

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    Screening Brief Intervention Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

    Since 2003, SAMHSA has funded SBIRT grants. Most clinic partner sites were situated in rural communities of fewer than 2,000 people. The New Mexico SBIRT project, for example, screened over 50,000 adult patients in rural and frontier New Mexico.

Youth Treatment Programs

Another set of SAMHSA programs that focus on family centered approaches to treatment are the two adolescent substance use disorder treatment programs:

An example from our SYT-I grant is the Kickapoo Tribe, which is a rural, under-served, and non-reservation American Indian tribe located in Oklahoma. Kickapoo Tribe’s project is focused on increasing access and engagement for youth in need of SUD treatment. Examples of improving access include: implementation of a ‘drop-in” center; youth social activities; vocational referrals and education groups.

Building Communities of Recovery (BCOR)

BCOR programs mobilize and connect a broad spectrum of community-based resources to increase the prevalence and quality of long-term recovery support. What makes these programs unique is that they are administered and implemented by people with lived experience in recovery from substance use disorders who reflect the needs and population of the community being served.

The ACTION Coalition, in the rural and remote Tennessee communities of Carter and Johnson counties, lies in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. These rugged mountain communities are, for the most part, geographically isolated and have been notorious hotspots for both the proliferation of the opioid epidemic and the resulting upsurge in the use of heroin. Both counties are currently designated as at-risk for economic distress, characterized by lack of infrastructure, high rates of unemployment (4.1%), low educational attainment, and low per capita income (59.6% of U.S. average).

Prevention Grant Opportunity for Rural Communities

The Strategic Prevention Framework-Partnerships for Success (SPF-PFS) program is grounded in the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), a community engagement model grounded in public health principles, including being data-driven, and focused on providing evidence-based services to high-risk underserved communities. SPF-PFS grant recipients focus on strengthening state and community-level prevention capacity to identify and address local substance use prevention concerns, such as underage drinking, marijuana, tobacco, electronic cigarettes, opioids, and heroin.

Using local, state, and national substance use public health data, recipients will identify prevention priorities in their communities, and develop and implement strategies to prevent the misuse of substances and promote mental health and well-being among youth and adults. Recipients will utilize a data-driven approach to identify underserved communities and at-risk sub-populations of focus.

Technical Assistance: Technology Transfer Centers (TTC)

The TTC programs are funded by SAMHSA and comprised of 3 networks:

These centers deliver technical assistance in processes and practice improvement in mental and substance use disorder treatment, prevention and recovery services, delivering effective evidence–based practices to the public and the clinical field.

SAMHSA's Involvement

Mental Health

SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) grant programs cover a wide range of mental health and other related services across the nation to organizations providing a range of training, technical assistance, infrastructure and direct behavioral health services. CMHS provides grants funding to states, cities, counties, universities, tribal organizations, provider organizations, community mental health centers, behavioral health centers and other public or private entities.

Substance Use Disorder

The mission of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is to promote community-based substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, and recovery support services for individuals and families in every community. CSAT provides national leadership to improve access, reduce barriers, and promote high-quality, life-saving, and effective treatment and recovery support services.

Drug Prevention

The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) works with federal, state, public, and private organizations to develop comprehensive prevention systems by providing national leadership in the development of policies, programs, and services to prevent the onset of illegal drug use, prescription drug misuse and abuse, alcohol misuse and abuse, and underage alcohol and tobacco use. It also promotes effective substance abuse prevention practices that enable states, communities, and other organizations to apply prevention knowledge effectively.

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