Federal Funding Streams for Mental Health Services

January 20, 2023

The federal government provides a significant share of funding for mental health services in America, while allowing states flexibility to design their own mental health systems and allocate those funds to county and local levels. This briefing outlined how federal funding is allocated, distributed, and ultimately used by states and community organizations. Speakers also explored the opportunities and challenges of recently passed funding mechanisms for various stakeholders, including state leaders and patients seeking mental health services.

  • Deepa Avula MPH, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Behavioral Health Link
  • Brett Beckerson, MSW, Director, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Mental Wellbeing
  • Aaron Walker, Policy Director, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
  • Catherine Finley, Partner, Thorn Run Partners (moderator)

This is the final event in the 2022 Signature Series: Mental Health in America. See previous events in this series here.

Presentation: Federal Funding Streams for Mental Health Services

Event Resources

Key Resources

(listed chronologically, beginning with most recent)

“End-of-Year Funding and Policy Package Summary.” Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. December 20, 2022. Available here.

“Here are Key Mental Health Provisions in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.” Llamas, A., Joyce, D. California Health Care Foundation. September 28, 2022. Available here.

“Department of Health and Human Services, Fiscal Year 2023, SAMHSA, Justification of Estimates for Appropriations Committee.” Department of Health and Human Services. Available here.

“The Federal and State Role in Mental Health.” Mental Health America. Available here.

“Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Agency Overview.” CRS. May 27, 2016. Available here.

“SAMHSA Grants Awarded by State.” SAMHSA. Available here.

“Transforming State Behavioral Health Systems: Findings from States on the Impact of CCBHC Implementation.” The National Council for Mental Wellbeing. Available here.

“What is a CCBHC?” National Council for Mental Wellbeing. Available here.

Additional Resources

(listed chronologically, beginning with most recent)

“Substance Use Disorder: Reliable Data Needed for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program.” U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). December 14, 2020. Available here.

“SAMHSA Announces Funding Opportunity to Develop and Transform Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.” National Association of Counties. October 24, 2022. Available here.

“The Solution to America’s Mental Health Crisis Already Exists.” The New York Times. October 4, 2022. Available here.

“The COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond: Improving Mental Health and Addiction Services in Our Communities.” Subcommittee on Health Care Hearing. U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. May 12, 2021. Available here.

“Mental Health: Better Documentation Needed to Oversee Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Grantees.” U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). May 12, 2015. Available here.




Deepa Avula, MPH
Behavioral Health Link, Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Brett Beckerson, MSW
National Council for Mental Wellbeing, Director of Policy and Advocacy

Catherine Finley (moderator)
Thorn Run Partners, Partner

Aaron J. Walker, MPA
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Policy Director

Experts and Analysts

Jennifer Bright, MPA
Momentum Health Strategies, President

Russell Petrella, Ph.D.
McKinsey & Company, Senior Advisor

Melissa Rowan, MSW MBA
Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, Chief Operating Officer

Reginald D. Williams II
Commonwealth Fund, Vice President, International Health Policy and Practice Innovations

Nathaniel Counts, J.D.
Mental Health America, Senior Vice President, Behavioral Health Innovation

Julia Harris, MPH
Bipartisan Policy Center, Senior Policy Analyst


Brian Altman, J.D.
National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory, Acting Director

Gary Blau, Ph.D.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Senior Advisor

Elizabeth Fomegne, MPA
Health Resources and Services Administration, Director Office of Policy and Planning

Richard McKeon, Ph.D., MPH
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Public Health Advisor

Melanie Egorin, Ph.D., M.A.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant Secretary for Legislation


Lindsey Browning
National Association of Medicaid Directors, Director of Medicaid Programming

Christine M. Crawford, M.D., MPH
National Alliance on Mental Illness, Associate Medical Director

Emma Jellen
American Psychiatric Association Foundation, Associate Director

Jodi Manz, MSW
National Academy for State Health Policy, Project Director, Behavioral Health, Aging, Disability Team

Robert Morrison
Executive Director and Director Legislative Affairs, National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors

Keris Jän Myrick, MBA
National Association of Peer Support Workers, Board Member and Policy Liaison