For Immediate Release - December 05, 2013

Application Period Opens Up for $8 Million Grant Program to Improve Behavioral Health Services in Massachusetts

Funding a Result of AG’s Settlement of Claims for Illegal Marketing of Antipsychotic Drugs

BOSTON – In an effort to improve the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services in Massachusetts, Attorney General Martha Coakley today opened the application period for an $8 million grant program designed to benefit health care consumers.

The Increasing Access to and Measuring the Benefits of Providing Behavioral Health Services in Massachusetts grant program (Behavioral Health Grant) will support projects to improve care and treatment related to mental health. The program utilizes funds recovered by the AG’s Office in a settlement of a consumer protection lawsuit against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, over the illegal marketing of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

“There are millions of families dealing with the effects of mental illness and substance abuse across our country,” AG Coakley said. “We as a Commonwealth must commit to reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and breaking down barriers to accessing services. This grant program is an opportunity to further that goal.”

The goal of the Behavioral Health Grant is to support and evaluate new projects which improve the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services in order to improve public health, welfare and safety. This includes reducing crime, violence, suicide or homelessness, or by improving care for veterans, children, victims of violence, low-income populations, and other underserved populations who have difficulty obtaining or adhering to appropriate treatments and services.

Approximately $8 million will be available for the program, with the maximum grant amount set at $2 million over a two-year period for each applicant. Grants may be awarded in varying funding amounts for a range of projects that may fall under the following categories.

Direct Care Models:

  • Direct provision of mental health and substance abuse services, treatments, or therapies, for underserved populations such as homeless, veterans, victims of violence, children, and senior citizens;
  • Services in settings other than healthcare facilities such as schools, courts, shelters;
  • Integrated mental health and substance abuse treatment for patients with complex or chronic comorbidities that place the patient at increased risk of emergency hospitalization.

Intervention, Testing, Coordination and Referral:

  • Crisis intervention services to evaluate and stabilize individuals in emergency situations involving violence or threats of violence or suicide;
  • Community mental health workers to coordinate effective care and treatment adherence and transitions;
  • Early intervention and school-age screening to support treatment of children with mental health conditions and victims of abuse, and their families and caregivers.       

Education and Training:

  • For health care professionals, law enforcement, youth workers, and educators to identify untreated or undertreated mental health or substance abuse conditions;
  • To address the stigma and discrimination experienced by individuals with mental health and substance abuse conditions.

Eligible applicants to the grant program must be from local, county or statewide government bodies, non-profit organizations or law enforcement, public safety or criminal justice entities in Massachusetts.

Interested applicants can visit the Attorney General’s website, www.mass.gov/ago/grants, for additional information about the application process and to download application materials. The deadline to apply for the Behavioral Health Grant is 4 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2014.

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