US Senators Announce Allocations
Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin announce that a fund of 15 million dollars has been allocated for mental health and substance abuse services. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the funds will be used to support substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery.
· $5,000,000 – Seneca Health Services, Inc. (Summersville):CONNECT Project
· $5,000,000 – Southern Highlands Community Mental Health Center, Inc. (Princeton):COVID Support in Rural Appalachia (CSIRA)
· $5,000,000 – Prestera Center for Mental Health Services, Inc. (Huntington): Community Mental Health Centers Initiative
Rise in Overdose Deaths
The rise in opioid deaths have seen a drastic incline since the start of COVID-19. These West Virginia Senators are setting a great example for others in congress on what problems need to be addressed at this moment. It can be easy to get distracted from issues such as mental health, however these senators are doing what is needed for their community. Grants like this help these communities tremendously, and the money is going to a good place. Unprecedented circumstances have the tendency to be in the back of the agenda for most politicians. It is important to recognize when good action is being taken. Hopefully, others will follow suit. Nonetheless, the funds allocated for substance abuse services shouldn’t be taken for granted and we can only hope this event inspires others to do the same.
Covid publicity may mask other health issues
It can be easy to forget about other issues when COVID-19 strikes big attention. The virus also has a lot of indirect consequences that the media doesn’t necessarily spend too much time noticing. This is a big example of that. Of course, the opioid epidemic has always been something of a recognized issue, however we have recently seen the biggest effect take its course with the response to the pandemic. Pressuring politicians to take action for issues they are ignoring goes a long way in the grand scheme of things. West Virginia senators aren’t the only ones doing something about it, but it will take a lot to start making real progress when trying to solve opioid addiction. Millions of families are affected by it, and without a constant reminder of its presence, it will continue to run rampant.
West Virginia takes note
“West Virginia communities continue to fight the drug epidemic in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic as both crises ravage our state. I am pleased HHS is investing in three organizations to support West Virginians battling substance use and mental health crises by improving crisis care services including telehealth, which are vital in rural communities where access to care is limited due to the pandemic,” Senator Manchin said.
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