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Oil spill victims to receive SAMHSA grants for behavioral healthcare

December 13, 2010
by News release
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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced that it will be distributing grants to Gulf Coast states providing behavioral healthcare and other social services to people affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The states receiving grant funding for surveillance of behavior health concerns and utilization of counseling services to impacted populations to date are Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. Totaling $648,404, the grants are intended to help conduct surveillance and provide data to direct the provision of behavioral healthcare services for people who are experiencing trauma and severe stress.

“Although public attention to the gulf oil spill has waned, the psychological impact resulting from loss of income, dislocation, and environmental destruction is only just beginning for some and may be felt for years to come,” said SAMHSA’s Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “These grants will help the states better target the limited resources available and reach those most in need with behavioral health services.”

In addition to these grants, SAMHSA, with the rest of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), continues to provide a wide range of assistance (in part with funds from BP) to meet the behavioral health needs of those recovering from this disaster, including an oil spill distress help line (1-800-985-5990) and a comprehensive behavioral health education and information plan.

The organization has also developed a regional public education campaign designed to raise awareness about behavioral health issues and connect those in need to services available. SAMHSA also has published and widely disseminated “Tip Sheets” for coping with the oil spill disaster. The complete series of tip sheets can be accessed here.