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CHA receives $500,000 grant to expand behavioral health

WASHOE COUNTY -- Community Health Alliance (CHA) has been awarded a two-year federal grant to expand and integrate behavioral health services at all four CHA health centers in Washoe County. The grant is for $250,000 per year from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

According to a CHA press release, Nevada has one of the lowest work forces of mental health providers per capita in the country. The press release states that the low number of mental health providers contributes to Nevada having one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. According to CHA, only 41% of youth and 43% of adults get the mental health services they need.

CHA says the goal of this grant is to make behavioral health services an important part of routine primary medical care in CHA health centers for children and adults. Primary care providers can refer patients who may have a mental health problem to behavioral health providers on site. The primary care provider can often do a warm hand off of the patient to the behavioral health provider during their routine medical visit. Behavioral health providers will also be an integral part of the patient care team involved in the treatment of the whole patient.

This grant allows us to provide on-site services as a part of their routine medical exam. Patients often get lost when we refer them to outside behavioral health providers. More often, it is difficult to find providers willing to see our patients, Chuck Duarte, CEO, said. We will be able to expand services and better assure patients are getting prompt mental health care when a problem is identified.