DHS: Federal grant to address behavioral health during COVID-19 pandemic

Funding to support services offered by county and community agencies

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has been awarded a $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to support the state’s behavioral health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including services for people of all ages with mental health and substance use challenges and health care workers.

“While our primary focus during the COVID-19 pandemic has been on the physical well-being of our residents, we cannot overlook the impact this crisis has had on behavioral well-being, an essential part of overall health,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. “We all are feeling a sense of uncertainty right now, and for those with mental health and substance use concerns and our health care workers, this has been an especially challenging time. This grant funding allows us to work with our community partners to open new pathways for people who need immediate help.”

DHS is partnering with seven counties identified as having the greatest need for behavioral health services relative to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following counties have received funding from this grant:

  • Brown County – $140,930
  • Dane County – $292,498
  • Kenosha County – $270,000
  • Milwaukee County – $320,000
  • Racine County – $122,512
  • Rock County – $212,702
  • Waukesha County – $168,833

This funding is being used to develop programs to address the needs of populations facing the greatest challenges during this time, including efforts to:

  • Engage people who have encountered barriers to accessing care.
  • Expand services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
  • Enhance supports for foster care families.
  • Provide treatment services through telehealth to youth and young adults.
  • Provide substance-free housing for people in recovery from an addiction.
  • Provide safe spaces for residential substance use treatment.
  • Connect people with peer specialists, individuals with experience in the mental health and substance use services system trained to support others in their journey to recovery.

Mental Health America of Wisconsin(link is external) has been awarded $48,016 to provide treatment services to health care workers statewide through telehealth.

Behavioral Consulting Services has been awarded $58,203 to provide treatment and recovery supports to staff at long-term care facilities statewide.

The remainder of the grant funding is allocated to collecting data and monitoring the outcomes and effectiveness of each project.

The grant funding for all projects is available through August 2021.

Call 211 or visit the 211 website(link is external) to learn about behavioral health services in your community.

Visit the Resilient Wisconsin pages on the DHS website for information on how to manage stress and build the ability to adapt and recover from adversity.