Home Virginia partners with community, faith organizations on mental health, substance use
Health, Virginia

Virginia partners with community, faith organizations on mental health, substance use

Crystal Graham
group therapy
(© fizkes – stock.adobe.com)

The behavioral health crisis throughout the world continues to grow, and Virginia is recognizing that the government alone cannot solve the problem.

The state is looking to partner with community and faith-based organizations to support individuals and families struggling with mental health and substance use issues.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin announced $800,000 in micro-grants to provide training and direct care. Grants will be available in amounts up to $15,000.

“Virginia’s behavioral health crisis is far too big a problem for government to tackle on our own,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “We must partner with faith-based organizations of all religions and community organizations to bring healing and hope to our neighbors.”

Governor Youngkin created Right Help, Right Now with a goal to transform Virginia’s behavioral health system and support individuals in mental health and substance use disorder crisis. The three-year plan includes goals to expand community service capacity and reduce opioid overdoses.

“We are supporting faith-based organizations and community organizations that are providing quality services because in many cases they are the first point of contact for Virginians in a behavioral health crisis,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel. “We are grateful to add faith-based organizations and community organizations to our team of state agencies, public and private community services providers, schools, public safety, and advocacy groups who are coming together for this critical effort.”

Organizations are encouraged to apply for grants through the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

The grants may be used to fund non-religious activities and programs that provide training for faith-based and other 501(c)3 organizations to better support people with mental illness and address substance use issues.

Through DBHDS, free trainings for Virginians are already available for Mental Health First Aid and a suicide prevention program, ASIST.

All grantees are to collect and report data on the effectiveness of their programs.

“Now, more than ever, the work to expand treatment access, prevention and community coalitions is critical as we work to strengthen mental health services and reverse opioid epidemic trends,” said DBHDS Commissioner Nelson Smith. “These grants will help jump-start activities we know are effective in faith-based and other settings and will come alongside efforts of state and community providers that are working extremely hard to meet the needs of the community.”

A request for proposals will be posted on eVA, the Commonwealth’s electronic marketplace, found at eva.virginia.gov. The RFP will be posted under the business opportunities tab and found by searching for DBHDS and behavioral health supports for faith-based organizations and community organizations.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.