- What’s in it for states? Each state team will receive technical support during a 12-month period starting in September 2021. The Policy Academy will provide state leaders with opportunities for peer-to-peer discussion, targeted support on their state policy goals, and access to national expertise. NASHP staff will work with selected states to develop work plans and provide monthly technical assistance calls; states will also participate with one another in collaborative learning engagements at virtual or in-person meetings.
- Team composition: State applications may include a team of up to five members, composed of at least two senior state officials or administrators (such as state Medicaid officials, state behavioral health agency officials, governor’s health policy leaders, legislators, etc.). The team may include additional state staff (leaders from offices of rural health, state technology officers, or other agency leaders) and others who can directly support team goals (e.g., provider and/or professional association representatives, clinical stakeholder leaders, or emergency response providers).
- To apply: Applications should be emailed to Mia Antezzo (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 5 p.m. (ET) on July 9, 2021.
- Informational webinar: Interested state officials are encouraged to participate in an informational webinar on the State Policy Academy on Rural Mental Health Crisis Services from 3-4 p.m. (ET) Thursday, June 24, 2021. View here.
State Mental Health Crisis Services Systems and the Importance of Capacity Building
Across states, rates of mental illness were steadily increasing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA) expects further increases as the nation emerges from social distancing and isolation measures. In rural regions, mental illness is of particular concern; rates of serious mental illness (SMI) are notably higher among individuals who live in rural areas, and the impacts of COVID-19 on rural residents have been significant – two thirds of rural adults reported experiencing greater mental health difficulties during the pandemic than they had previously. Recent federal actions to support mental health crisis services – including the American Rescue Plan’s supplemental SAMHSA funds and a temporary 10 percentage point increase to the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for some Medicaid expenditures for home and community-based services (HCBS) – aim to help states address these issues. The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020, which establishes 9-8-8 as a nationally-accessible hotline for people in suicide and other mental health crisis situations, specifies the need to support special populations, including those in rural regions.
As states consider how to align and target these resources to address existing challenges in providing mental health crisis services, there may also be opportunities to build infrastructure and establish new approaches to service delivery and coordination. The growth in telehealth services during the pandemic offers opportunities to continue to develop and streamline non-traditional service delivery for mental health crisis care. States may also consider how to coordinate care, data, and supportive services in rural regions using paramedicine and emergency care partners and by leveraging community health workers and peers.
NASHP is launching this Policy Academy to assist states in their work to address these challenges. Through this opportunity, states will share strategies to implement and/or improve systemic approaches that support rural providers and stakeholders in mental health crisis service delivery. NASHP will serve as a resource and convener to help policymakers connect with peers and experts, identify and share strategies and solutions, and provide insights for other state leaders.
Participating states will achieve the following during the course of this 12-month academy:
- Gain practical information and insights into policy strategies to support mental health crisis service delivery;
- Develop a workplan for implementing key policy or programmatic priorities in their state; and
- Achieve key milestones that will enhance their ability to improve services, increase coordination, and address payment challenges.
Team composition: State applicants may identify a core team of up to five members to participate in the academy, including at least two state officials or administrators (one of whom should be from the state Medicaid agency and another from the state behavioral health agency) who can implement the state’s specific goals and project activities. Additional members may include other state leaders such as technology/data officers, state agency staff, or representatives from mental health organizations, community-based organizations, provider organizations, emergency services providers, or other key stakeholder groups that can support the state’s goals. Applicants should also identify a team lead who can provide overall leadership and serve as the primary point of contact. The team lead must be a state official.
State goals: Applicants should describe 2 – 4 specific and measurable policy goals, as well as a realistic timeline and proposed activities to achieve these goals. Strong candidates will demonstrate foundational planning for mental health crisis policy changes to address both emerging and ongoing needs of rural localities.
Technical assistance needs: Applicants should describe what specific expertise, technical support, and other resources would be helpful in making progress on their goals.
Letters of Support: It may not always be feasible for the Medicaid and/or behavioral health division or agency directors to be directly involved in the academy. In these cases, a letter of support from these officials is encouraged.
Submission: To apply to NASHP’s State Policy Academy on Mental Health Crisis Services, please download and complete this brief application.
The application and any letters of support must be submitted electronically to Mia Antezzo (email@example.com) by 5 p.m. (ET) July 9, 2021. NASHP will notify each state of its application status no later than July 23, 2021.
FAQs: Download here.
About NASHP and this project
NASHP is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with over three decades of experience in helping state policy makers lead. NASHP provides expertise, convenes states, shares innovations and best practices, and supports state policymakers in making concrete and sustainable health system reform. For more information, visit NASHP’s website at www.nashp.org.
This Policy Academy opportunity is supported by NASHP’s partnership with the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) with support through a National Organizations of State and Local Officials (NOSLO) cooperative agreement.