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Tribal Behavioral Health Grant Program

Grants to USA Tribes and Tribal Organizations to
Address Youth Mental Health and Trauma

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US Department of Health and Human Services - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) and Substance Use Prevention (CSAP)

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Grants to USA tribes and tribal organizations to prevent substance abuse and suicidal behavior, mitigate the impact and trauma, and promote mental health for youth (up to age 24). Applicants must verify or create the required registrations well in advance of the deadline.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Centers for Mental Health Services (CMHS) and Substance Use Prevention (CSAP), are accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2018 Tribal Behavioral Health Grant Program (Short Title: Native Connections). The purpose of this program is to prevent and reduce suicidal behavior and substance use, reduce the impact of trauma, and promote mental health among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth through the age of 24 years.

Native Connections is intended to reduce the impact of mental and substance use disorders, foster culturally responsive models that reduce and respond to the impact of trauma in AI/AN communities, and allow AI/AN communities to facilitate collaboration among agencies to support youth as they transition into adulthood.


It is expected that recipients will develop and implement an array of integrated services and supports to prevent suicide and reduce the impact of mental and substance use disorders and complex trauma. Recipients should lead efforts to improve coordination among mental health, trauma, suicide prevention, and substance abuse prevention services for tribal youth and their families. AI/AN community members should be involved in all grant activities, including planning, program implementation, and evaluation. At a minimum, community members should include youth, family members, tribal leaders, and spiritual advisors.

Key Personnel:

Key personnel are staff members who must be part of the project regardless of whether or not they receive a salary or compensation from the project. These staff members must make a substantial contribution to the execution of the project.

The key personnel for this program will be the Project Director with a 1.0 FTE level of effort. This position requires prior approval by SAMHSA after a review of the staff credentials and job description.

Required Activities:

These are the activities that every grant project must implement. Be sure these Required Activities are reflected in the Project Narrative.

-Conduct a Community System Analysis, a Community Needs Assessment, a Community Readiness Assessment; and create a Community Resource/Asset Map that addresses suicide prevention, substance use prevention, and mental health disorders. Information about these tools can be found at

-Develop policies and procedures to promote coordination among youth-serving agencies to include: standards of care for youth at risk for suicide; procedures to address the transition of youth from one agency to another; the role of evidence-based clinical health practices in supporting suicide prevention, substance use and misuse prevention interventions, and mental health promotion and wellness strategies among youth and their families; the role of local traditional healing/helping practices in combination with evidence-based suicide and substance use prevention among youth.

-Develop and/or revise protocols to ensure that youth at risk for suicide, including those who attempt suicide and use substances, receive follow-up services to ease their transition into treatment.

-Develop and/or revise “postvention” protocols for responding to suicides, suicide attempts, and suicide clusters to promote community healing and reduce the possibility of contagion (i.e., suicides following and connected to an initial suicide). The protocols should reflect the traditions and culture of the tribe, tribal organization, or consortia of tribes or tribal organizations, or that are incorporated into urban Indian programs.

-Develop and implement an Action Plan that addresses one, two, or three tiers of prevention and intervention strategies. Based on the results of the Community System Analysis, Needs Assessment, and Readiness Assessment, the Action Plan will guide the implementation of substance use, mental health, and suicide prevention strategies in the selected community. The three tiers of prevention and intervention strategies are: universal prevention strategies focus on reducing risk and increasing resilience for youth through the age of 24 regardless of risk for suicide or substance use; selective prevention and intervention strategies focus on delivering selective prevention and intervention services to youth through the age of 24 who may have greater needs than the general population (e.g., the risk of suicide and/or substance use is much higher than average); and indicated prevention and intervention strategies focus on implementing interventions to youth through the age of 24 whose needs have not been adequately addressed by the previous two tiers of service delivery (e.g., youth who are at high risk for suicide and/or substance use, youth who have already attempted suicide, and youth who may be using or misusing substances).

- Ensure that community members are involved in in guiding all grant activities, including planning, plan implementation, and evaluation. For the duration of the grant, you must solicit the input of an existing (or create a) youth advisory council for guidance, feedback and review of your efforts.

Other Expectations:

The Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-211) requires SAMHSA and its federal partners to cooperate with tribes who have elected to adopt a resolution to develop a Tribal Action Plan (TAP). The TAP is a tribal-specific strategic action plan that is developed through an inclusive process with the goal of improving the overall quality of health and wellness. A TAP proactively supports the coordination of resources and programs relevant to the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders. Critical TAP components include: (1) working with the community to identify urgent or emerging substance use issues; (2) identifying strengths and resources; (3) assessing needs and resources; (4) identifying gaps in services; and (5) coordinating available resources and programs. Tribes who have developed a TAP within the past 18 months, or who are in the process of developing a TAP, are encouraged to include content from their TAP in responding to this FOA. Using TAP content could align with Section A: Statement of Need and Section B: Proposed Approach of the application narrative. Recipients of funding will also be encouraged to use TAP content when they develop the Action Plan required by this grant.

If your application is funded, you will be expected to develop a behavioral health disparities impact statement no later than 60 days after your award. Refer to Appendix G, Addressing Behavioral Health Disparities.

Although people with behavioral health conditions represent about 25 percent of the U.S. adult population, these individuals account for nearly 40 percent of all cigarettes smoked and can experience serious health consequences. A growing body of research shows that quitting smoking can improve mental health and addiction recovery outcomes. Research shows that many smokers with behavioral health conditions want to quit, can quit, and benefit from proven smoking cessation treatments. SAMHSA strongly encourages all recipients to adopt a tobacco-free facility/grounds policy and to promote abstinence from all tobacco products (except in regard to accepted tribal traditions and practices).

Recipients must utilize third party and other revenue realized from provision of services to the extent possible and use SAMHSA grant funds only for services to individuals who are not covered by public or commercial health insurance programs, individuals for whom coverage has been formally determined to be unaffordable, or for services that are not sufficiently covered by an individual’s health insurance plan. Recipients are also expected to facilitate the health insurance application and enrollment process for eligible uninsured clients. Recipients should also consider other systems from which a potential service recipient may be eligible for services (for example, the Veterans Health Administration or senior services), if appropriate for and desired by that individual to meet his/her needs. In addition, recipients are required to implement policies and procedures that ensure other sources of funding are utilized first when available for that individual.

SAMHSA encourages all recipients to address the behavioral health needs of returning veterans and their families in designing and developing their programs and to consider prioritizing this population for services, where appropriate. SAMHSA will encourage its recipients to utilize and provide technical assistance for service members, veterans and their families. This includes efforts to engage their staff in cultural competency training courses and to collaborate with key organizations in their local communities that are focused on serving this population.

SAMHSA, working with tribes, the Indian Health Service, and the National Indian Health Board, developed the first collaborative National Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda (TBHA). The TBHA is intended for use by tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian programs, federal agencies, state agencies, and other collaborators working to improve the wellness of tribal communities. A significant component of the TBHA is the American Indian and Alaska Native Cultural Wisdom Declaration (CWD) which elevates the importance of tribal identities, culture, spiritual beliefs, and practices for improving well-being. The CWD and other components of the TBHA are supported by the Native Connections Program and applicants are encouraged to incorporate and clearly identify applicable foundational elements, priorities, and/or strategies in their grant application.

Using Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs):

SAMHSA’s grants are intended to fund service or practices that have a demonstrated evidence base and that are appropriate for AI/AN populations. An EBP refers to approaches to prevention or treatment that are validated by some form of documented research evidence. Both researchers and practitioners recognize that EBPs are essential to improving the effectiveness of treatment and prevention services in the behavioral health field.

SAMHSA realizes that EBPs have not been developed for all populations and/or service settings. However, in addition to traditional practices, applicants are expected to identify and use EBPs for the types of problems or disorders addressed in the application to the extent practicable. Grant application reviewers will closely examine proposed interventions for evidence base and appropriateness.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 172022

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Estimated Number of Awards: Up to 30

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $250,000 per year

Term of Contract:

The anticipated project start date is September 30, 2018.

The length of the project period is up to 5 years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility is limited to federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes, tribal organizations, Urban Indian Organizations, or consortia of tribes or tribal organizations.

The purpose of this program is to prevent and reduce suicidal behavior and substance use among AI/AN youth through the age of 24 years. Therefore, SAMHSA is limiting eligibility to federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native tribes, tribal organizations, consortia of tribes or tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations since they are in the best position to implement the goals and objectives of this program. These entities are defined as follows:

Indian tribe, as defined at 25 U.S.C. § 1603(14), refers to any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including Alaska Native village or group or regional or village corporation, as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688) [43 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.], which is recognized as eligible the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

Tribal organization, as defined at 25 U.S.C. §1603(26), refers to the recognized governing body of any Indian tribe; any legally established organization of Indians which is controlled, sanctioned, or chartered by such governing body, or which is democratically elected by the adult members of the Indian community to be served by such organization, and which includes the maximum participation of Indians in all phases of its activities. Provided, that in any case where a contract is let or grant made to an organization to perform services benefitting more than one Indian tribe, the approval of each such Indian tribe shall be a prerequisite in the letting or making of such contract or grant.

Urban Indian Organization (UIO), as defined at 25 U.S.C. § 1603(29), operating pursuant to a contract or grant with the Indian Health Service, refers to a non-profit board of directors situated in an urban center, governed by an urban Indian-controlled Board of Directors, and providing for the maximum participation of all interested Indian groups and individuals whose body is capable of legally cooperating with other public and private entities for the purpose of performing the activities described in [25 U.S.C. § 1653(a)]. UIOs are not tribes or tribal governments and do not have the same consultation rights or trust relationship with the federal government.

A consortia of tribes or tribal organizations are eligible to apply, but each participating entity must indicate its approval. A single tribe in the consortium must be the legal applicant, the recipient of the award, and the entity legally responsible for satisfying the grant requirements.

Recipients who received funding under SM-17-005, SM-16-010, or SM-14-013 (Cooperative Agreements for Tribal Behavioral Health) are not eligible to apply for funding under this FOA.

Pre-Application Information:

SAMHSA’s application procedures have changed. All applicants must register with NIH’s eRA Commons in order to submit an application. This process takes up to six weeks. If you believe you are interested in applying for this opportunity, you MUST start the registration process immediately. Do not wait to start this process. If your organization is not registered and you do not have an active eRA Commons PI account by the deadline, the application will not be accepted. No exceptions will be made.

Applicants also must register with the System for Award Management (SAM) and

Applications are due by June 22, 2018.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For questions about program issues contact:

Dr. Michelle Carnes
Suicide Prevention Branch
Division of Prevention, Traumatic Stress, and Special Programs
Center for Mental Health Services/SAMHSA

For questions on grants management and budget issues contact:

Gwendolyn Simpson
Office of Financial Resources
Division of Grants Management
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
(240) 276-1408

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Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming