STATEWIDE — Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled a $485 million plan to address challenges in Virginia’s behavioral health system.
In an announcement on Wednesday, July 28, Northam announced that Virginia will commit $485 million in federal and state funding to reduce pressure on state mental health hospitals, strengthen community-based services and increase support for substance abuse treatment and prevention programs.
“Every Virginian should have access to the behavioral health care and treatment they need, either in their home communities or in a state-operated facility,” Northam said. “The pandemic has led to increases in depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and other mental health issues in Virginia and across the country, which has added to the strain on our behavioral health system and the valued people who work within it.”
The funding package includes nearly $200 million for staffing at state behavioral health facilities and intellectual disability training centers, along with $45 million toward continuing staff bonuses and an additional $154 million in the two-year budget Northam will submit in December for salary adjustments.
“This funding package is a down payment that will significantly increase support for our state hospitals, community-based providers, and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs so they can best help those who rely on their services,” Northam said.
The plan is part of the $4.3 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding that is available to Virginia.