U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced that a $585,609 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services planning grant is heading to Montana to help expand around-the-clock community-based mobile crisis intervention services for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Tester secured the funding - which will connect Montanans experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis to a behavioral health specialist or critical treatment - through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Tester was the only member of Montana’s congressional delegation to vote for the funding.

“Mental health care is critically important, and this funding will help connect more Montanans to the mental health care they need while reducing the burden on first responders and improving outcomes across the board,” Tester said. “I am proud to have helped secure this funding for Montana, and I will keep pushing to ensure every Montanan has access to the lifesaving mental health care they need to thrive.”

The planning grant provides needed resources for state Medicaid agencies to assess community needs and develop programs to bring crisis intervention services directly to folks who are experiencing a substance use-related or mental health crisis outside a hospital or facility setting, and will help Montana integrate community-based mobile crisis intervention services into its Medicaid programs, a critical component of establishing a sustainable and public health-focused crisis support network.

Tester has long advocated for increased access to mental health services in rural and underserved areas. Earlier this year, he secured more than $10 million in American Rescue Plan funding to bolster mental health services across Montana. He also championed the Seeding Rural Resilience Act, which provides suicide prevention tools and resources through the Farm Service Agency.

Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK, or 1-800-273-8255.

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