State Mental Health Agencies (SMHAs) are the critical safety net providing evidence-based mental health services to individuals in need in every state. Each year over 8 million individuals (2.5% of the U.S. population) receive mental health services and supports from SMHA systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated existing challenges in the state systems that expend over $40 billion annually to provide mental health services. COVID-19 affects all aspects of state behavioral health systems, including inpatient care in state hospitals, crisis services, community-based treatment services, and services to school-aged children.
To understand and assess the magnitude of the COVID-19 impact on state mental health systems, and how these systems have adapted to challenges presented by COVID-19, NRI, in collaboration with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), surveyed the SMHAs during the summer of 2020. This report represents the results of this survey.