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Published 4/21/2020

Michigan Awarded Two Federal Grants to Strengthen Behavioral Health Services During COVID-19 Crisis

SAMHSA and FEMA Grants Totalling $2.5 Million for Mental Health



As evidence mounts that the COVID-19 pandemic is taking an emotional toll on Michiganders, help is on the way in the form of two federal grants awarded to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration (BHDDA).

One grant was awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The other was awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in partnership with SAMHSA, with funds distributed through the Michigan State Police. Together, the two grants provide nearly $2.5 million to better address mental health needs during the COVID-19 disaster.

“We are grateful to SAMHSA and FEMA for recognizing Michigan’s urgent need for expanded behavioral health services at this time,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “These grants open up new pathways for trained professionals to help residents struggling with symptoms of mental illness and psychological trauma exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.”

The SAMHSA Emergency COVID-10 grant will provide BHDDA with $2 million to assist Michiganders living with mental health and/or substance use disorders, as well as those with less severe mental illness, including health care professionals. Funding is to be used within 16 months. To optimize the grant opportunity, MDHHS will partner with five Community Mental Health Services Programs (CMHSPs) that were identified as having the greatest need relative to the COVID-19 crisis:

• Au Sable Valley Community Mental Health Authority (serving Iosco, Ogemaw and Oscoda counties)
• Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network
• Genesee Health System
• HealthWest (serving Muskegon County)
• Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority

SAMHSA grant funding will allow these CMHSPs to hire and train much-needed staff, provide mental health screening, expand telehealth services and create a variety of programs to help patients manage depression, anxiety, trauma and grief related to COVID-19.

A second grant, the Immediate Services Program: Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP) grant, will provide BHDDA with $372,000 to roll out a short-term emergency program with four main components:

• Crisis counseling from CCP-trained counselors accessed via the MDHHS COVID-19 hotline.
• Highly specialized outreach to the Detroit metropolitan area (the region most heavily impacted by COVID-19), offering crisis counseling to families with children, seniors, first responders, health care providers and those with racial or ethnic health disparities.
• CCP training of volunteers.
• Emotional support for low-acuity COVID-19 patients living in state-supplied isolation housing.

CCP grant funding is to be used within 60 days. However, BHDDA plans to pursue a secondary CCP grant that, if awarded, would allow Michigan to extend its CCP program an additional nine months.  



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Update 4/19/2020

Eastern Michigan University students and professors are working to support the frontline by making masks and other personal protective equipment.  An EMU alumni group called GameAbove is providing the resources.

A Muskegon school's virtual class was disrupted by a Zoom bomber.  Inappropriate images were shared by an unknown person in the Holton High School online class.

Some Northern Michigan sheriffs say they will not "strictly" enforce Governor Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order because, as one sheriff told Fox News, "it's a bridge too far."

A survey by the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators reveals that at least 300,000 of the state's students do not have internet or a computer.

No prisoners will be given early release due to COVID-19, Governor Whitmer announced in an afternoon press conference on Friday.  The ACLU of Michigan has urged the release of elderly and immunocompromised inmates.

The Eaton Rapids and Swartz Creek locations of Rite Aid are now self-swab COVID-19 testing facilities.  Rite Aid also added a Detroit area testing facility, in Macomb.  The testing locations open Monday April 20th.

13 residents of a Clio nursing home have died due to COVID-19.  23 residents and 23 employees of Maple Woods Manor have tested positive.

Northern Michigan food pantries are getting a protein boost thanks to the sale of gift cards at some area businesses.  20% of gift card sales at Red Ginger or Buritt's Fresh Market in Traverse City will buy chicken and ground beef for the nonprofits.