COMMUNITY SAFETY EDUCATION

COMMUNITY SAFETY EDUCATION

Tuesday 30th March 2021
From Local and International Daily Newspaper Headlines

With Pandemic Worsening the Mental Illness and Addiction Crisis, Biden Administration to Provide Nearly $2.5 Billion to States, Territories for Treatment, Prevention Aid


Thursday, March 11, 2021
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Funding to Support Comprehensive Community Prevention, Treatment, Recovery and Health Services

The Biden Administration will provide nearly $2.5 billion in funding to states and territories to address the nation's mental illness and addiction crisis, which has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will direct $1.65 billion in Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant funding and $825 million in Community Mental Health Services Block Grant funding to states and territories.

The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program allows states and territories to provide comprehensive community mental health services and address needs and gaps in existing treatment services for those with severe mental health conditions.

The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program allows states and territories to plan, implement and evaluate activities to prevent and treat substance use disorder. This funding will also allow recipients to maximize efficiency in existing treatment and recovery infrastructure, promote support for providers and address unique local needs to deliver substance use disorder prevention.

"We know multiple stressors during the pandemic - isolation, sickness, grief, job loss, food instability and loss of routines - have devastated many Americans and presented unprecedented challenges for behavioral health providers across the nation," said Acting Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Tom Coderre. "During this time of increased urgency, we want to assure them that funding is in place to help states and territories provide pathways to prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery services, especially for underserved populations."

Recently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data confirming a rise in fatal overdoses during the pandemic, and this year's increases in calls to helplines across the country are indicative of growing anxiety, depression and trauma in Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis have been especially devastating for Black and Latino communities, who are experiencing a disproportionate number of COVID-19 infections and deaths as well as higher-than-average unemployment rates.

"SAMHSA resources connect Americans to evidence-based treatment and services every day," said Coderre. "Focusing on both mental and substance use disorders - challenges that pre-date the COVID-19 pandemic but that have worsened over the past year - will be a crucial part of SAMHSA's approach to helping the nation move forward."

In addition to the $2.5 billion awarded today, SAMHSA has awarded $686 million in Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) Expansion Grants; Emergency Grants to Address Mental and Substance Use Disorders During COVID-19 (Emergency Response COVID-19) and supplements to fiscal year 2020 Emergency Response COVID-19 grant recipients.

Funding allocation tables can be viewed here:

FY 2021 Community Mental Health Block Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental Awards

FY 2021 Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental Awards

People searching for treatment for mental or substance use disorders can find treatment by visiting https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov or by calling SAMHSA's National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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Reporters with questions should send inquiries to media@samhsa.hhs.gov.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

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RESPONDING TO DISASTERS IS BOTH REWARDING AND CHALLENGING WORK


Responding to disasters is both rewarding and challenging work. Sources of stress for emergency responders may include witnessing human suffering, risk of personal harm, intense workloads, life-and-death decisions, and separation from family. Stress prevention and management is critical for responders to stay well and to continue to help in the situation. There are important steps responders should take before, during, and after an event. To take care of others, responders must be feeling well and thinking clearly.

People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment plans during an emergency and monitor for any new symptoms. Additional information is found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text Talk With Us to 66746.
  • People with deafness or hearing loss can use their preferred relay service to call 1-800-985-5990.

See the SAMHSA tip sheet, Tips for Disaster Responders: Preventing and Managing Stress

Here are some important steps responders can take to ensure they are able to do their job and cope with challenging situations:

Preparing for a Response:

  • Try to learn as much as possible about what your role would be in a response.
  • If you will be traveling or working long hours during a response, explain this to loved ones who may want to contact you. Come up with ways you may be able to communicate with them. Keep their expectations realistic, and take the pressure off yourself.
  • Talk to your supervisor and establish a plan for who will fill any urgent ongoing work duties unrelated to the disaster while you are engaged in the response.

During a Response: Understand and Identify Burnout and Secondary Traumatic Stress

Limit your time working alone by trying to work in teams.
Responders experience stress during a crisis. When stress builds up it can cause:

  • Burnout - feelings of extreme exhaustion and being overwhelmed.
  • Secondary traumatic stress - stress reactions and symptoms resulting from exposure to another individual's traumatic experiences, rather than from exposure directly to a traumatic event.

Coping techniques like taking breaks, eating healthy foods, exercising, and using the buddy system can help prevent and reduce burnout and secondary traumatic stress. Recognize the signs of both of these conditions in yourself and other responders to be sure those who need a break or need help can address these needs.

Signs Of Burnout:

  • Sadness, depression, or apathy
  • Easily frustrated
  • Blaming of others, irritability
  • Lacking feelings, indifferent
  • Isolation or disconnection from others
  • Poor self-care (hygiene)
  • Tired, exhausted or overwhelmed
  • Feeling like:
    • A failure
    • Nothing you can do will help
    • You are not doing your job well
    • You need alcohol/other drugs to cope

Signs of Secondary Traumatic Stress

  • Excessively worry or fear about something bad happening
  • Easily startled, or "on guard" all of the time
  • Physical signs of stress (e.g. racing heart)
  • Nightmares or recurrent thoughts about the traumatic situation
  • The feeling that others' trauma is yours


Get support from team members: Develop a Buddy System

In a buddy system, two responders partner together to support each other, and monitor each other's stress, workload, and safety.

  • Get to know each other. Talk about background, interests, hobbies, and family. Identify each other's strengths and weaknesses.
  • Keep an eye on each other. Try to work in the same location if you can.
  • Set up times to check-in with each other. Listen carefully and share experiences and feelings. Acknowledge tough situations and recognize accomplishments, even small ones.
  • Offer to help with basic needs such as sharing supplies and transportation.
  • Monitor each other's workloads. Encourage each other to take breaks. Share opportunities for stress relief (rest, routine sleep, exercise, and deep breathing).
  • Communicate your buddy's basic needs and limits to leadership - make your buddy feel "safe" to speak up.

Read more about the buddy system.

Responder Self-Care Techniques

  • Limit working hours to no longer than 12-hour shifts.
  • Work in teams and limit amount of time working alone.
  • Write in a journal.
  • Talk to family, friends, supervisors, and teammates about your feelings and experiences.
  • Practice breathing and relaxation techniques.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and get adequate sleep and exercise.
  • Know that it is okay to draw boundaries and say "no."
  • Avoid or limit caffeine and use of alcohol.

It is important to remind yourself:

  • It is not selfish to take breaks.
  • The needs of survivors are not more important than your own needs and well-being.
  • Working all of the time does not mean you will make your best contribution.
  • There are other people who can help in the response.

Responding to disasters can be both rewarding and stressful. Knowing that you have stress and coping with it as you respond will help you stay well, and this will allow you to keep helping those who are affected.

Responders will experience stress. Managing stress and taking breaks will make you a better responder.

After the response: Family and Work-life

These are some resources responders can share with their family members and co-workers:

Family members can help make the transition easier after the response is over.

Additional Resources: