HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala today announced the first federal grants ever awarded specifically to develop mental health services for persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families or partners.
About $4.1 million in cooperative agreement demonstration grants has been awarded to 11 community organizations to demonstrate delivery of high quality mental health services for people affected by and living with HIV/AIDS, and to one coordinating center to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of services rendered.
A diagnosis of HIV/AIDS can be emotionally devastating," said Secretary Shalala. "Many people with HIV/AIDS do not have the support of family and friends to help them cope with the isolation or stigma associated with HIV. These demonstration projects will help people with HIV/AIDS improve their quality of life and maintain their dignity."
The cooperative agreements were awarded through the HIV/AIDS Mental Health Services Demonstration Program, administered by the center for Mental Health Services in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Public Health Service, HHS. Funds were made available through an agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration and the National Institutes of Health, both of which are components of the Public Health Service. The three agencies worked together to develop the initiative. They also will participate on the steering committee.
The program targets groups that have been hardest hit by HIV/AIDS, including gay and bisexual men, people of color, substance abusers and homeless persons.
There is a significant demand for mental health services for people affected by and living with HIV/AIDS. This new program will enable us to begin to meet the compelling mental health needs of those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and to help prevent further transmission of the virus," said Philip R. Lee, M.D., assistant secretary for health and directory of the U.S. Public Health Service.
Dr. Lee said that, as a result of these services, adherence to medical treatment should increase, the risk of suicide should decrease and work capacity should improve. The program also will provide data on community-based models that work and can be replicated on a national level.
SAMHSA Administrator Nelba Chavez, Ph.D., said, "We can and we must do better in our efforts to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS: this program builds a new bridge between mental health services and substance abuse, HIV treatment and community support services. This kind of integration is critical in light of the fact that HIV, substance abuse and mental illness are malevolent companions."
Research and clinical data show that HIV may infect the brain, resulting in central nervous system impairment and neuropsychiatric complications, including AIDS Dementia Complex.
CMHS Director Bernard S. Arons, M.D., said, "People with HIV/AIDS often require support to cope with early death, stigma, direct effects on the brain and a variety of other difficult issues. Adjustment disorders, depression and mood disorders are other possible complications."
The grantee organization and amounts awarded are listed below:
Cooperative Agreement Awards (Organization, FY 1994 Funding)