The Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) announces more than $620,000 in grant awards throughout the state to increase the availability of mental health services. One of those grants ($78,150) will fund a licensed behavioral health clinician at Tri-Area Community Health (TACH).
Access to much-needed behavioral health services in Patrick County, a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area, has been limited for county residents. TACH will increase access to behavioral health services with a full-time Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) serving patients at the Patrick County Family Practice (PCFP) and Caring Hearts Free Clinic of Patrick County (CHFC).
The VHCF grant allows TACH to create an innovative and unique approach to help bring behavioral health services to Patrick County. It is a first of its kind collaboration between two important local health providers designed to serve the community and those suffering from the challenges of anxiety, depression, or other conditions caused by the pandemic, the loss of jobs and loved ones, or other pandemic–related stresses.
“There’s a shortage of behavioral health professionals throughout the Commonwealth,” says Deborah Oswalt, VHCF’s Executive Director. “In fact, 66% of the state has been designated a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area. This impacts the quality of life of adults and children alike.”
VHCF has invested heavily to increase the availability of mental health services in the Commonwealth. During the past 11 years, the Foundation has invested nearly $10 million to fund the addition of behavioral health professionals in Virginia’s healthcare safety net and local human service organizations; develop more tele-mental health services; provide scholarships for aspiring Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners; and integrate the delivery of mental health services with primary care. The Foundation also has introduced and supported the implementation of a trauma-informed approach to providing care within the health care safety net.
“Behavioral health is a top priority for us as we embark on our 30th year of work,” said Deborah Oswalt, VHCF’s executive director. “We are delighted to invest in organizations like Tri-Area Community Health to ensure Virginians have access to the health care they need.”
In addition, VHCF awarded a grant ($99,470) to TACH to fund a full-time Nurse Practitioner at TACH’s site in Grayson County.
The grants to TACH are two of 14 grants awarded by VHCF this January, totaling more than $1.1 million, to increase access to behavioral health, medical and dental services for uninsured and medically underserved Virginians. VHCF also awarded $56,250 to help fund a dentist at Big Walker Dentistry.