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S. 515: Mental Health Justice Act of 2021

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 1, 2021.

Mental Health Justice Act of 2021

This bill creates a grant program for states and local governments to train and dispatch mental health professionals to respond, instead of law enforcement officers, to emergencies that involve people with behavioral health needs.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) must manage the program in consultation with the Department of Justice (DOJ). SAMHSA may cancel grants that increase incarceration or institutionalization. Grantees must use funds for purposes including de-escalation and anti-racism training.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the DOJ must evaluate this program.