Telepsychiatry Companies

Breaking Down the Latest Grant Opportunity for CMHCs

Breaking Down the Latest Grant Opportunity for CMHCs

Calling all CMHCs!

The SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is currently accepting proposals for their new 2021 grant program. They’re estimating about $825,000,000 in available funding for between 165 and 825 organizations. These funding awards are exclusively available for Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs). If you’re a CMHC, this program could be a great opportunity for your organization to expand or improve your behavioral health services.

We broke down the program requirements, details, and deadlines so you could decide whether or not to pursue an award.

What the CMHC Grant Program entails

The FY 2021 CMHC Grant Program is an initiative to help enable CMHCs to offset the impact of COVID-19 on their behavioral health programs and empower them to improve or expand services. In particular, this program seeks to help organizations meet the needs of patients with serious emotional disturbance (SED), serious mental illness (SMI), or co-occurring disorders (COD).

Here are some of the key details of the project:

  • Applications for grant awards are due May 21, 2021
  • Awardees can expect to receive between $500,000 and $2,500,000 per year as part of the program
  • Funds will start arriving as soon as September 30, 2021
  • Awardees will receive their funds for up to two years

Organizations should plan to have at least one staff member to serve as Project Director. This staff member must complete work related to this project for at least half of their full-time work role.

What your CMHC needs to submit as part of your application

Each application must focus on the following required activities:

  • The total number of individuals you expect to serve as part of this project
  • How you plan to establish or improve your organization’s infrastructure to support HIPAA compliant telehealth services
  • How you’ll use this grant to provide services for individuals with SED, SMI, and COD
  • Plans to provide trauma-informed screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Provisions for clinical and recovery support services (such as psychosocial rehabilitation, case management services, and peer support)
  • And resources you’ll use to address the overall mental health needs of your CMHC

Your organization must submit a “Project Narrative” as part of your application. The Project Narrative should contain the following five sections and should not exceed 10 pages total:

  1. Population of focus and statement of need: In this section, you should identify your patient populations and their general demographics, how the pandemic impacted your revenue and ability to provide services, and the current state of need for patients with SED, SMI, and COD.
  2. Proposed implementation approach: In this section, you’ll describe the goals and measurable objectives of your project, how you plan to implement the required activities for this award (and any additional activities you plan to focus on), and a realistic timeline for how you plan to use the funds over the next two years.
  3. Proposed evidence-based service/practices (EBPs): In this section, you’ll discuss how each EBP you choose is appropriate for your patient populations and the outcomes you want to achieve.
  4. Staff and organizational experience: In this section, you’ll describe your CMHC’s experience providers services to patients with SMI, SED, and COD, a list of staff (with titles) who will be working on the project, your project staff’s experience, and any other organizations you plan to partner with for your project.
  5. Data collection and performance measurement: In this section, you’ll break down how you plan to collect data around your program — as well as how you’ll manage or monitor that data.

Note: The above list reflects the top line requirements for your application. If you’re planning to apply for funding, be sure to read the grant announcement in its entirety for more information on what you need (or are allowed) to submit.

How your CMHC can apply to this grant program

In order to apply for a grant with the 2021 CMHC Grant Program, you must register with NIH’s eRA Commons. SAMHSA recommends that you begin the registration process as soon as you think you want to apply. That means you should start the process ASAP so you don’t miss out on this potential opportunity!

In addition to eRA Commons, your organization should register with three more organizations to apply for a grant:

  1. Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System
  2. System for Award Management (SAM)

Once you’re registered, you can complete your application using eRA ASSIST, Workspace, or another system to system (S2S) provider.

To get started, visit or the SAMHSA website and download all the required documents.

Be sure you read the full grant program announcement carefully before you start preparing your application materials. You can find all the details here:

This grant program is a perfect fit for CMHCs looking to impact their communities and improve their services in the wake of COVID-19. It also offers some excellent opportunities for CMHCs to incorporate more formalized telepsychiatry offerings into their organization. If your organization is interested in building a sustainable telepsychiatry organization as part of your grant proposal, check out our comprehensive guide for CMHCs.

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