[SEPTEMBER 2021] WellStone, Inc. is pleased to announce to be an official awardee of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) Grant. The full grant amount is $4.2 million over two years and will fund numerous services, including expanding service levels and access to care, funding full-time employees and implementing crisis-related efforts. The grant’s purpose is to “enable community mental health centers to support and restore the delivery of clinical services that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and effectively address the needs with serious emotional disturbance (SED), serious mental illness (SMI), and individuals with SMI or SED and substance use disorders, referred to as co-occurring disorder (COD).”
WellStone CEO Jeremy Blair says, “This funding allows us to focus on both adults and children with serious mental illness and emotional disturbances in both Madison and Cullman Counties. Even more particular, the individuals who are economically disadvantaged and minority groups who disproportionately felt the impact of COVID. As our crisis diversion center construction continues, we fully appreciate the need to expand services and increase our workforce, and something this big is monumental for our access to care deliverability.”
WellStone’s key goals of the funding include:
- Strengthening and sustaining telehealth
- Increasing outpatient service levels
- Expanding crisis care utilization care, including diverting individuals from ERs and jails
- Providing trauma informed screening, assessment and treatment in all programs
Approximately four years ago, North Alabama had a higher SMI prevalence at 5.5% (SAMHSA, 2018), and in June 2020 the CDC reported that 40.9% of respondents had at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder, symptoms of a trauma- and stressor-related disorder related to the pandemic, and having started or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19.
“With Huntsville now as the largest city in Alabama, the funding could not have come at a better time,” Chief Operational Officer Chris Van Dyke shares. “The poverty rate for both counties have increased 13-15% over the past 10 years and these individuals need our help now more than ever, especially when you include a global pandemic.”
Blair says, “The past year has been more than challenging on everyone’s mental health, and prioritizing our mental wellbeing is long overdue. We are so proud that we are able to serve North Alabama, and especially the population that is underserved when it comes to receiving mental healthcare.”
“We are beyond excited to see the impact after our action items begin,” Van Dyke comments. “This is an important next step for WellStone and mental health care across Madison and Cullman counties.”
About Wellstone Inc.: WellStone Inc. is a non-profit community organization that provides mental health and substance abuse services supporting the integrated health of the whole person. WellStone operates 12 facilities throughout North Alabama and Cullman. WellStone is certified through the Alabama Department of Mental Health. WellStone offers programs for children, adolescents, adults, substance abuse, school-based outreach, community services and more. For more information, visit www.wellstone.com. Additional media inquiries can be directed to the Communications Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (256) 705-6301.