Mandated by Congress, SAMHSA’s block grants are noncompetitive grants that provide funding for substance abuse and mental health services.
A block grant is a noncompetitive, formula grant mandated by the U.S. Congress. Eligible entities must submit an annual application to demonstrate statutory and regulatory compliance in order to receive the formula-based funding. SAMHSA is responsible for two block grant programs:
Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG)
The SABG program provides funds and technical assistance to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, 6 Pacific jurisdictions, and 1 tribal entity. Grantees use the funds to plan, implement, and evaluate activities that prevent and treat substance abuse and promote public health.
Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG)
The MHBG program provides funds and technical assistance to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 6 Pacific jurisdictions. Grantees use the funds to provide comprehensive, community-based mental health services to adults with serious mental illnesses and to children with serious emotional disturbances and to monitor progress in implementing a comprehensive, community-based mental health system.
Purposes of a Block Grant
Grantees use the block grant programs for prevention, treatment, recovery support, and other services to supplement Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance services. Specifically, block grant recipients use the awards for the following purposes:
- Fund priority treatment and support services for individuals without insurance or for whom coverage is terminated for short periods of time.
- Fund those priority treatment and support services that demonstrate success in improving outcomes and/or supporting recovery that are not covered by Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance.
- Fund primary prevention by providing universal, selective, and indicated prevention activities and services for persons not identified as needing treatment.
- Collect performance and outcome data to determine the ongoing effectiveness of behavioral health promotion, treatment, and recovery support services.