Mental Health and Substance Abuse Block Grants

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will submit an application to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for Block Grant funding for the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2016-2017. The application will be combined for Community Mental Health (CMH) and Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention (SAPT) services for youth and adults throughout the state’s 11 health and human services regions. While the application is being combined, block grant funding will remain separate. The block grant federal funds provide approximately $33 million dollars a year to Texas for the provision of CMH Services and approximately $133 million dollars for SAPT services.

What are the Block Grants - How do they help States?

The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Block grant programs award funds to states to establish, expand or enhance an organized, community-based system for providing mental health services for adults with serious mental illness (SMI), children with serious emotional disturbances (SED), and adults and adolescents with or at risk for Substance Use Disorders (SUD). Funds awarded to the state are to be used to carry out the approved state plan, to evaluate programs and services set in place under the plan, and to conduct planning, administration and educational activities related to the provision of services under the plan. The CMH Services Block Grant accounts for approximately 5% of DSHS expenditures of Community Mental Health. The SAPT block grant accounts for approximately 87% of DSHS expenditures on substance abuse services.

Block Grant Application Structure and Format

As part of the block grant application process, DSHS has determined priority areas for the intended use of block grant funds which include services for federally required populations, populations determined to be in need as well as enhancements to the service system. For each of the priorities, DSHS has identified goals and strategies to be met during the FFY 2016-2017 years. Addressing these priorities and meeting the goals and strategies is how DSHS intends to utilize block grant and required maintenance of effort funds. Public comment is being requested on these efforts.

How to Submit Comments

The State of Texas is applying for funding for Federal Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 through the combined Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) and the Mental Health Block Grant (MHBG). As authorized by 42 United States Code (U.S.C) Section 300x-21 et seq. and 42 U.S.C. Section 300x-3, the state will use the SABG and MHBG funds to provide substance abuse prevention and treatment and mental health treatment services to youth and adults throughout the state’s 11 health and human services regions.

Block grant funds are used for prevention, treatment, recovery support, and other services to supplement Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance services. The block grant prioritizes the following populations: adults with severe mental illness (SMI), children with significant emotional disturbances (SED), substance abusing pregnant women and women with dependent children in need of treatment, persons in need of primary substance abuse prevention, intravenous drug users, persons with or at risk of HIV/AIDS who are in treatment for substance abuse and persons with or at risk of TB who are in treatment for substance abuse.

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is seeking public input on the proposed plan to include in the 2016-2017 Block Grant proposal. The proposed plan highlights legislative funds appropriated during the 84th Legislature that serve the required priority populations in the combined SA and MH Block Grant. Additionally, it includes DSHS initiatives that align with SAMHSA’s Six Strategic Initiatives. It does not, however, reflect every mental health and substance abuse program/initiative funded by DSHS or the Block Grant.

Please provide your comments on any or all of the intended use plans by going to the following e-mail address: or by sending written comments to:

Mary Sowder, Operation Services
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division
Department of State Health Services
P.O. Box 149347, Mail Code: 2053,
Austin, Texas 78714-9347

  • Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. Central Daylight Saving Time, Wednesday, August 19, 2015.
    Last updated August 10, 2015