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Territory’s new 988 Program receives HHS grant

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Source: Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata’s D.C. staf

Washington, D.C. — American Samoa has received notice of $556,177 in federal funding for local mental health and substance abuse services.

This is a new grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), by application of the American Samoa Department of Health (ASDOH) for their three-year crisis response to mental health and substance abuse needs, a project that is part of the nationwide 988 suicide and crisis lifeline effort.

Congress designated that new 988 dialing in 2020 during the 116th Congress (FY 2021 Appropriations) to be a major update of the former National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, then funded new and ongoing 988 lifeline projects through each year’s appropriations since, as well as boosting support through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022.

“Thank you especially to Fiso Talalupelele for ensuring that American Samoa applied and qualified for this grant for these services,” said Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata.“It is important that a friendly, knowledgeable voice is immediately available so that response and support can be rapidly sent for anyone going through a mental health crisis.”

The states and territories work with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in administering 988 projects. ASDOH is led by Director Motusa Nua reporting to Governor Lemanu Mauga and Lieutenant Governor Talauega Ale. Nationally, HHS is led by Secretary Xavier Becerra, with SAMHSA under Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Miriam Delphin-Rittmon.