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Health Department Looking To Expand Mental Health Services

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 213

The Knox County Health Department agreed to submit a grant application they hope will allow them to provide additional services.

Should the grant be awarded, the Health Department’s Federally Qualified Health Center would begin supplying mental health services. The grant application requested $170-thousand for operation of the service. As with many grants, the Health Department would have 120 days to get the new service up and running.

Health Department Administrator Heidi Britton says they schooled themselves in the behavioral health world in preparation for any service expansion.

“For a grant like this because it’s not traditional public health for us to do mental health, we chose to bring everybody in, discuss what we were thinking, what we had received information from, you know, expertise that do mental health or behavioral health,” says Britton.

Britton says she used available expertise to outline clear responsibilities and expectations should the grant be awarded.

The Board of Health says they believe the project can be sustained for a period of two years with the funds available through the grant. Britton says there are mental health screenings that could be completed by the primary care physician, but that’s not where the mental health services stop.

“The idea is that you have this patient in your office, you bring the counselor right to them, or them right to the counselor all in the same building and you didn’t lose that opportunity,” says Britton.

The Health Department hopes to hear back on the grant application by August of this year.