The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified behavioral health needs across the state, creating new barriers for people with mental illness and substance use disorders and increasing the prevalence of these conditions. In response, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is implementing the Behavioral Health Response and Rescue Project (BHRRP) to increase access to behavioral health care for all Californians.
BHRRP is funded by supplements to the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) and the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Funding was made available to SAMHSA through passage of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan Act.
The Behavioral Health Response and Rescue Project will support the full continuum of behavioral health care needs:
DHCS is supporting a variety of prevention programs through BHRRP, including the Statewide Friday Night Live Youth Prevention Program, suicide prevention services, a Statewide Prevention Plan for California counties, and an evidence-based prevention registry.
Intervention and Treatment
BHRRP aims to expand the behavioral health workforce by continuing support for peer-run programs and the peer workforce. BHRRP will also fund training sessions for counties to develop treatment programs for first episode psychosis and provide telehealth equipment for patients in need.
DHCS has implemented the Crisis Care Mobile Units (CCMU) Program to support behavioral health mobile crisis and non-crisis services, and will provide behavioral health crisis intervention training and programs for first responders through the Behavioral Health Justice Intervention Services Project.
DHCS is using BHRRP funds to support and expand recovery services for mental health and substance use disorders. DHCS is working with community stakeholders to appropriately define recovery services programs and determine the best use of grant funds for these services across the state.
BHRRP Statewide Focus Areas
Funding will be released in two phases. Phase 1 of the Health Equity in Access to Behavioral Health Recovery Services (HEAR Us) spearheads a community-driven process to establish Behavioral Health Recovery Services standards of care with input from organizations and key stakeholders over a 10-month developmental phase from October 1, 2022 through July 31, 2023.
At the completion of Phase 1, well-documented and defined standards of care will help inform policies, practices, and investments through Phase 2 of the program. A cohort of organizations will be funded in Phase 2 to contribute to the implementation of those standards statewide.
DHCS is funding organizations that provide direct treatment and recovery support services and who only use funds for provider telehealth development, enhancement and/or expansion.
State Projects Administered by Counties
BHRRP also allocates funding to behavioral health state projects that counties will administer. Counties may use this funding for:
- General Crisis Services
- Prevention Activities
- Friday Night Live Program
- Perinatal-specific Treatment and Recovery Services
- Youth and Adolescent Treatment
- Recovery Housing Support
- First Episode Psychosis Programs
- Crisis Stabilization Services
- Early Intervention Services
- Discretionary Projects