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Governor announces $7 million in COVID-19 aid to bolster state’s mental health response

Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday announced $7 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to two programs aimed at strengthening mental health services in Alabama. 

“COVID-19 has taken a toll on Alabamians in many ways, and that certainly includes their mental health. Like people around the globe, the people of our state are suffering, and I remain committed to providing the necessary support to get our state and her people back on our feet,” Ivey said in a statement. “These funds will go to support important mental health services that Alabamians are seeking in these difficult times. I am pleased to see the CARES Act funds continually being put to work for the people of Alabama.”

Of the $7 million in CARES Act funds for the Alabama Department of Mental Health, $1 million is to go toward ADMH’s Crisis and Recovery Services program for the development of a web-based, toll-free crisis hotline to help guide people, especially those impacted by COVID-19, to appropriate services, according to a press release from Ivey’s office. 

The remaining $6 million is for a community provider reimbursement program in which ADMH will reimburse nearly 300 provider agencies that provide services to people with mental illness, substance use disorders and developmental disabilities.

“We are deeply grateful for Governor Ivey’s support of community providers and Alabamians with mental illness, substance use disorder and intellectual/developmental disabilities who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” said ADMH Commissioner Lynn Beshear in a statement. “Through the Governor’s leadership in establishing this grant program, access to behavioral health services will be enhanced, and organizations that care for some of our most vulnerable citizens will be reimbursed for unexpected expenses related to the virus.”

The $7 million is a portion of the overall $1.9 billion in federal CARES Act money appropriated to Alabama to help mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the memorandum of understanding between Alabama’s Department of Finance and ADMH, a monthly report is to be submitted to the Department of Finance by ADMH that details how the money is being spent.

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Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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