Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) announced with Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will award New Hampshire $10,671,860 in federal grants allocated through the American Rescue Plan to support efforts to combat the substance use disorder epidemic and increase access to mental health services in the state in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, HHS will award $5,640,385 in supplemental funding for New Hampshire from the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant and $5,031,475 in supplemental funding from the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant.
These grants were made available as a result of the nearly $4 billion in funding included in the delegation-backed American Rescue Plan for mental health care and substance misuse services and comes in addition to the $16.3 million in funding the delegation announced for the state through the emergency COVID-19 relief package that passed Congress and was signed into law in December. Senator Shaheen successfully fought for the inclusion of language – which Hassan supported – in the December emergency relief providing $4.25 billion for substance use disorder treatment and mental health care.
“It’s impossible to overstate the devastating impact this pandemic has had on the mental health of Granite Staters of all ages. Many of our friends, neighbors and loved ones continue to struggle due to the many challenges they’ve endured over the past year. To make matters worse, Granite State mental health and substance use disorder treatment providers are overburdened from the surge in demand for their services and are facing severe financial constraints that threaten their ability to stay open,” said Senator Shaheen. “We must respond to the mental health and substance use disorder crises that have been exacerbated by this pandemic, which is why securing these federal dollars in the American Rescue Plan was an imperative for me. I’m very pleased these funds are on their way to New Hampshire. In the months ahead, I’ll continue to work tirelessly to ensure Granite Staters can access the help they need to recover and will keep up efforts to bolster assistance for our treatment providers on the frontlines.”
“The pandemic has placed an enormous strain on Granite Staters and underscored the urgent need to provide support for those grappling with mental health challenges and substance use disorders,” Senator Hassan said. “Over the last year, I have had countless conversations with first responders, veterans, children, and parents about the need for more treatment and counseling services—which is why we pushed for this significant funding in the American Rescue Plan. I am glad that it is going out the door so it can provide Granite Staters the support they need. I will continue working to address the ongoing mental health and substance use disorder challenges that have impacted families across our state.”
“For Granite Staters struggling with addiction or mental health challenges, local support systems and access to treatment programs are essential,” said Representative Kuster, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force. “This funding through the American Rescue Plan directly responds to the needs of our New Hampshire communities and the substance abuse crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. I was proud to help secure these much-needed federal funds to support substance abuse and mental health programs throughout our state.”
“Granite Staters from all walks of life have all been touched by the addiction epidemic in profound, devasting ways. And the impacts have only been worsened by COVID-19 and economic crisis,” said Representative Chris Pappas. “That is why I was proud to support the American Rescue Plan Act, which is delivering these lifesaving resources to support comprehensive substance use disorder treatment and bolster mental health services. As we continue to recover from this pandemic, it is critical that we not lose sight of our friends, family, and neighbors who continue to need our help dealing with addiction and mental health. I remain committed to ensuring New Hampshire has the resources we need to do this important work.”
Shaheen and Hassan are leaders in the Senate working to shine light on the mental health crisis during the pandemic. Shaheen recently hosted a virtual discussion with New Hampshire stakeholders and advocates to discuss the youth and teen mental health epidemic facing the state, and visited the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester to discuss the mental health needs and challenges facing the area. To highlight the need to address teen mental health challenges, Shaheen invited Maureen O’Dea, President of the New Hampshire School Counselors Association and Director of School Counseling at Londonderry High School, as her virtual guest to President Biden’s joint address to Congress. Hassan recently visited with teachers, students, and administrators in Epping School District, including to discuss young peoples’ mental health. Hassan also held a virtual roundtable with Representative Pappas to discuss their bipartisan bill to help states set up a ‘Green Alert’ system to help find missing, at-risk veterans. Earlier this year, Hassan held a roundtable with first responders and medical workers to hear about their mental health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shaheen has spearheaded crucial legislation and funding to stem the opioid epidemic, including through her leadership on the pivotal Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. In government funding legislation signed into law in 2019, Shaheen included a key provision from the 2019 version of her legislation – Turn the Tide Act – to provide flexibility for treatment providers to use State Opioid Response (SOR) grant dollars to help patients suffering from meth and cocaine dependency, in addition to opioid use disorders. Shaheen wrote the provision in response to discussions with New Hampshire treatment providers. Shaheen retained this provision in government funding legislation for fiscal year (FY) signed into law in December. The FY2021 funding legislation also provided $1.5 billion in SOR grant funding, as well as the continuing of a 15 percent set-aside that Shaheen and Hassan fought to secure in 2018 for hard-hit states like New Hampshire. These combined efforts led to a more than tenfold increase in federal treatment and prevention funding for New Hampshire. Over the past four years, New Hampshire has received approximately $92 million from these grants Shaheen and Hassan helped secure to combat the opioid epidemic in the state, with the hardest-hit state set-aside responsible for the majority of those funds.