Grants for Mental Health Services

The Purpose of Grants for Mental Health Services

Grants for mental health services are offered to promote preventing and treating mental disorders.

These grants encourage and enhance evidence-based practices, quality improvement, and good consumer outcomes.

They also support activities that promote the values of recovery, resiliency, and cultural competence.

The purpose of grants for mental health services is to improve public mental health service systems across the country.

Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) is offered to help build and support the community-based public mental health system.

Grants for Mental Health Services – Role of Federal Government

The federal government works with the states to address mental health issues by funding services and supporting research and innovation.

The federal government is a primary funding source for mental health services.

Besides funding mental health services under Medicare and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Medicaid is the largest funder focusing on mental health services.

The federal government also offers Mental Health Block Grants (MHBG), supporting states in building their community mental health services.

Additional federal funding is offered for mental health research to study causes, treatments, and recovery from mental health disorders.

Government agencies, such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), regulate grants that contribute to the overall understanding of mental health disorders and services to improve treatment and future research.

Grants for Mental Health Services – National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

NIMH is the largest funder of research on mental disorders globally. The purpose of the NIMH is to understand and treat mental illnesses through research, paving the way for cure, prevention, and recovery.

NIMH generates and promotes research training to fulfill the following four objectives:

1. Define the mechanisms of complex disorders

2. Chart mental illness trajectories to discover when, where, and how to intervene

3. Strive for prevention and cure

4. Build the public health impact of NIMH-supported research

To accomplish these goals, NIMH divisions and programs are designed.

To find NIMH funding opportunities and announcements, including those specific to clinical research and training, visit

Grants for Mental Health Services – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The Department of Behavioral Health administers the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) from SAMHSA.

The Block Grants fund agency programs and community-based organizations to improve the quality of behavioral health services.

The targeted population under the MHBG program:

  • Adults with Serious Mental Illnesses (SMI)

The MHBG program targets individuals aged 18 and older who have been diagnosed with behavioral, mental, or emotional conditions —as determined by the Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders.

This condition substantially interferes with, or limits, one or more major life activities, such as:

  1. Daily living (for example, eating or dressing)
  2. Participating in a family, school, or workplace
  3. Instrumental living (for example, taking prescribed medications)
  • Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances (SED)

The MHBG program targets children with Serious Emotional Disturbances (SED) with behavioral, mental, or emotional issues as determined by the DSM.

This situation results in a functional impairment that intervenes with or limits a child’s functioning in the family, school, or community activities.

To submit applications, state mental health authorities and single state agencies can visit Web Block Grant Application System (WebBGAS).

SAMSHA Performance Requirements

Each grantee has an assigned executive branch unit responsible for managing the MHBG. SAMHSA expects grant recipients to satisfy the following requirements:

  1. The grant receivers are required to submit a plan explaining how they will utilize MHBG funds. They must provide comprehensive, community mental health services to the targeted population. The annual reports on their plans are also required.
  2. They can allocate funds to local government entities or non-governmental organizations.
  3. The beneficiaries must ensure that community mental health centers provide services like screening, emergency mental health services, outpatient treatment, and day treatment programs.
  4. They are obliged to follow the general federal requirements for managing grants. Also, they must cooperate with SAMHSA’s efforts to monitor the use of MHBG funds. For example, each year, the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) conducts investigations to assess how grantees utilize the funds to serve the population.
  5. MHBG funds recipients are required to support and form a state or territory mental health planning council.


The grants for mental health services are offered to promote the prevention and treatment of mental disorders. It brings hope to adults with serious mental illnesses and children with emotional disorders.

See Also

Mental Health Grants for Individuals

Mental Health Support for Doctors

Grants for Mental Health Research

Current Version
May 3, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.
September 3, 2023
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.
February 24, 2021
Written By
Victoria Abigail Friedland

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