Governor Wes Moore Announces $13.5 Million in Grants to Improve Behavioral Health Crisis Services Across the State

On Friday, Governor Wes Moore announced that the Maryland Department of Health awarded $13.5 million in grants to 19 jurisdictions across the state to help promote health equity and improve access to behavioral health crisis services in Maryland.
Per the news release: The grants will fund pilot programs to expand and improve mobile crisis team services and establish behavioral health crisis stabilization centers, which provide high quality, person-centered services.

“When a Marylander is in crisis, they deserve our full and undivided support. And to truly meet people where they are, we can’t just think about acting quickly – we also need to think about acting effectively,” said Gov. Moore. “This funding will help ensure that we support Marylanders contending with a mental health or substance use crisis with speed, strategy, expertise, and compassion. Today, we take an important step forward in our work to build stronger, healthier communities for all.”

Mobile crisis teams and behavioral health stabilization centers help reduce inappropriate visits to the emergency department and unnecessary contact with the criminal legal system. The mobile crisis teams, which include a behavioral health clinician, will visit individuals of all ages who are in crisis and will operate 24 hours a day seven days per week every day of the year.

“Maryland’s Mobile Crisis Teams provide immediate support to any youth or adult who is experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Laura Herrera Scott. “The face-to-face intervention deployed in real time is key in de-escalating the crisis and assisting the person by connecting them to the proper long-term support.”

The grants will also establish behavioral health crisis stabilization centers for the first time in Maryland. The centers provide intensive crisis prevention and support for up to 24 hours for children and adults as an alternative to emergency departments. Services include screening, assessment, brief intervention and prescribing capabilities, with the capacity to help Marylanders who may be on either voluntary and involuntary status navigate mental health care and substance use treatment, in addition to links to somatic care.

“Behavioral Health Crisis Stabilization Centers are a critical resource for Marylanders who are struggling with mental health or substance use,” said Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health Alyssa Lord. “These centers, which will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will provide immediate and equitable care to anyone in need, as well as link them to ongoing, community-based solutions.”

All 19 jurisdictions that applied will receive funding to participate in the pilot program, including establishing Behavioral Health Crisis Stabilization Centers in Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, and Washington counties, as well as Baltimore City. This funding also supports mobile crisis team development and expansion in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, and Worcester counties, as well as Baltimore City.

Marylanders who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis are encouraged to call, text or chat 988 to connect with someone who can help. 988 provides 24/7 free and confidential emotional support to people experiencing issues such as thoughts of suicide, depression, anxiety, or drug and alcohol use. You can call for yourself or on behalf of a family member or friend who needs support.

If you are in danger or need immediate medical attention, call 911.

For more information about behavioral health crisis services, visit health.maryland.gov/bha.

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