Mental Health & Substance Abuse

So thankful Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders is helping us address the mental health crisis we are facing in Arkansas. I want to thank DHS for working with us on it also. In addition thanks to Representative DeAnn Vaught for putting together the Mental Health Workgroup that has been working on this.

This is a great step forward for the State but it is just one step in what is needed. We continue to the work in the Workgroup. Come and join us to be part of the solution.

Governor Sanders, DHS Announce $30M Plan Focused on Mental Health, Substance Use Treatment, Crisis Response Initiatives

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced a comprehensive plan to invest $30 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to improve mental health and substance abuse services across the state through a variety of initiatives, including a statewide coordinated crisis response system.

Governor Sanders approved the multifaceted plan earlier this month, and the Arkansas Legislative Council’s (ALC) Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) Subcommittee approved the funding today. The full ALC committee will consider the proposal on Friday. The Governor appreciates their consideration and support of this proposal.

“The mental health and substance abuse crises in this country are layered. If we’re going to tackle them, our efforts will have to be layered too,” said Governor Sanders. “I’m proud to announce Arkansas’ plan to address these issues head-on, including a statewide coordinated crisis response system. This will help us fill the gaps in our current efforts and ensure struggling Arkansans get the help they need.”

“It’s critical that resources are available to support Arkansans who are struggling with substance use disorders or mental illness, especially in times of crisis,” said Arkansas Department of Human Services Secretary Kristi Putnam. “This plan invests in areas that can help prevent situations from escalating to crisis level, and also builds more of a continuum of care where we currently have gaps in support. We are grateful for the priority Gov. Sanders and the Legislature have placed on this need and look forward to engaging community partners and stakeholders as we deploy these funds.”

The statewide crisis response system will include: a 24-hour call center that will allow first responders to use tablets to connect individuals in crisis with clinicians; creation of mobile crisis teams; new training for EMT, police, and other first responders on telehealth, and patient evaluation; and software that will better connect health care and emergency response entities around the state.

Additionally, the plan includes funding to support several key service initiatives that fill existing service gaps and improve quality for children and at-risk populations. These new resources provide better community-based services and supports for individuals who would otherwise be sent to high-cost settings not necessarily best to meet their specific needs. The plan includes creation or enhancement of:

Therapeutic community beds for adults with co-occurring mental illness and intellectual/development disabilities;

Community re-integration programs for children;

Youth substance abuse residential treatment programs;

Adult substance abuse residential treatment programs;

Supportive housing for adults with mental illness to help prevent homelessness, incarceration, and institutionalization; and

Supportive housing to prevent homelessness, incarceration, and institutionalization for youth and young adults leaving state custody from foster care or the juvenile justice system.

The ARPA funding announced today is one element of a broader plan the administration is developing to complete the health continuum of care for individuals with mental health needs, intellectual disabilities, or physical disabilities, and those Arkansans who are elderly and aging. This larger plan will outline DHS’ initiatives that focus on prevention through crisis to recovery or stability. It is aimed at providing treatment and supportive services to enable vulnerable individuals to live safely in their own homes and communities, and additional details are forthcoming.

2024-02-25T20:58:09+00:00 Feb 13th, 2024|In the News|