The federal government will distribute $1 million of taxpayer money to cater to Tennesseans’ mental health needs as they pertain to COVID-19.
This, according to a press release the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services put out this week.
“There are a lot of people out there, dealing with stress, anxiety, fear, and depression, who are hurting right now. We want people to know that it’s OK to not feel OK right now and that help is available, and thanks to this grant, the department and our community providers will be able to help more people,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, in the press release.
“We are grateful to our federal partners for this funding, and the department is committed to leveraging all available resources to support the needs of Tennesseans and the community providers who serve them.”
The Tennessee Star asked TDMHSAS spokesman Matthew Parriott this week what measures are in place, if any, to make certain state officials will only spend this money on things directly related to COVID-19.
“All of the funds in this grant will be contracted out to community mental health providers we currently work with,” Parriott said in an email.
Parriott also said that any Tennessee resident “who has experienced mental health impacts as a result of COVID-19 is eligible to receive services.”
As reported this week, U.S. officials estimate that 20 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus since it first arrived in the United States, meaning that the vast majority of the population remains susceptible. Thursday’s estimate is roughly 10 times as many infections as the 2.3 million cases that have been confirmed. Officials have long known that millions of people were infected without knowing it and that many cases are being missed because of gaps in testing.
The administration also looks to get its scientific experts back before the public more as it tries to allay anxieties about the pandemic while states begin reopening. Since mid-May, when the government began stressing the need to get the economy moving again, the panel’s public health experts have been far less visible than in the pandemic’s early weeks.
Twenty million infections means that about 6 percent of the nation’s 331 million people have been infected.
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