IHS Announces $46.4 Million to Fund Behavioral Health Programs That Serve American Indians and Alaska Natives

ROCKVILLE, MD – The Indian Health Service has announced $46.4 million in funding opportunities to address suicide, domestic violence, and substance abuse, and supporting an integrative approach to the delivery of behavioral health services for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the lives and mental health of so many people across the country,” said Xavier Becerra, Health and Human Services Secretary. “Strengthening mental and behavioral health is a priority for us at HHS. With today’s investment, we get one step closer to helping more families – particularly across American Indian and Alaska Native communities – as we work to tackle public health crises associated with COVID-19 and support people struggling with the pandemic’s impact.”

“These funding opportunities are critical for our efforts to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level,” said Elizabeth Fowler, IHS Acting Director. “The funding we are announcing today addresses some of the most important issues affecting Native people across Indian Country, especially as the pandemic has had such an impact on behavioral health.”

Funding opportunities that IHS has announced include:

  • The Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Aftercare funding opportunity is for $14 million and focuses on reducing the prevalence of substance abuse and decreasing the overall use of illicit substances among American Indian and Alaska Native populations.
  • The Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention funding opportunity offers $14 million to reduce the prevalence of suicide among American Indian and Alaska Native populations. These substance abuse and suicide prevention funds will provide opportunities to support programs or initiatives such as suicide screening, expansion of behavioral health services in schools and homes, or training community members in suicide and substance abuse prevention.
  • The Domestic Violence Prevention funding opportunity supports tribes, urban Indian organizations, and IHS federal programs by incorporating prevention efforts and supporting the emotional well-being of victims through the integration of culturally appropriate practices and trauma-informed services. A total of $7.9 million in funding is available to support domestic violence prevention programs’ development or expansion.
  • The Forensic Healthcare funding opportunity provides $2.5 million to focus on access to treatment for American Indian and Alaska Native victims of domestic and sexual violence by supporting the development or expansion of forensic health care services that are culturally appropriate and trauma-informed.
  • The Behavioral Health Integration Initiative funding opportunity provides $6 million to improve the physical and mental health status of people with behavioral health issues by increasing capacity among tribal and urban Indian organization health facilities to implement an integrative approach in the delivery of behavioral health services.
  • The Zero Suicide Initiative focuses on developing a system-wide approach to improve care for individuals at risk of suicide. This $2 million funding opportunity focuses on improving the system of care for those at risk by implementing a comprehensive, culturally informed, multi-setting approach to suicide prevention in Indian health systems.

The announcement highlights the opportunity to tailor proposed projects across Indian Country to meet the needs of Native communities. Applications are due by Feb. 2, 2022.