Governor Abbott, HHSC Announce More Than $20 Million For Disaster Crisis Counseling Services

October 9, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will receive more than $20 million in additional federal funding for disaster crisis counseling services for Texans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Regular Services Crisis Counseling Program.

"As the State of Texas combats COVID-19, we are ensuring that Texans have access to the mental health support services they need," said Governor Abbott. "Thank you to our federal partners at FEMA for their continued support throughout the pandemic and for providing this crucial funding for our state's crisis counseling services."

"People throughout Texas experiencing mental or emotional stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic can get the support they need with the help of this federal funding," said Sonja Gaines, HHS deputy executive commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability & Behavioral Health Services. "This grant allows Texas families to have greater access to the services they need during this challenging time."

This grant is in addition to the $5.8 million in FEMA crisis counseling funds health officials announced in May and will extend counseling services to 28 local mental health and behavioral health authorities in Texas. The grant is expected to connect an additional 240,000 Texans throughout the state to short-term crisis counseling services.

The funding will also continue the COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line and support various organizations that focus on emergency management, public health, social services and crisis counseling in emergency shelters. Individuals struggling with substance use issues will also benefit from the disaster crisis counseling services. 

For additional resources, visit the Mental Health & Substance Use Resources web page. Texas residents can dial 2-1-1 to learn about programs and services.