HHS announces new funds for mental health

Federal health officials will distribute $54.6 million under ObamaCare to support mental healthcare in 47 states, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Thursday.

Community health centers will receive the funds to expand their mental health services. The financial awards are aimed at providing or expanding behavioral healthcare to more than 450,000 patients, HHS said.

"These awards will further reduce the barriers that too often prevent people from getting the help they need for mental health problems," said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell in a statement.

"Health centers with these awards are on the front lines of better integrating mental health into primary care and improving access to care through the Affordable Care Act."

The 2010 healthcare law seeks to bolster community health centers as part of its overall goal of expanding coverage and access to medical care. Over five years, the centers will receive $11 billion in funding under the law.

Prior awards from HHS have focused on expanding the physical footprint of community health centers and hiring more medical staff. Thursday's announcement means new funds for 221 specific centers.

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