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Virginia proposes million dollars for mental health system; Here’s who could apply!

The governor’s new three-year plan calls for 230 million dollars in funding for improvements to Virginia’s mental health system.

The proposed Right Help, Right Now initiative calls for the expansion of mental health programs in schools as well as the establishment of more than 30 mobile crisis centers.

Virginia Mental Health Assistance

According to Bruce Cruser of Mental Health America’s Virginia chapter, this is a good start. However, according to Cruser, the plan omits an important component of local mental health care.

Community Services Boards are regional offices in the state that provide community-based support to people with behavioral health issues and developmental disabilities.

The plan includes elements such as expanding mental-health programs in schools, expanding tele-behavioral health operations on high school and college campuses, and establishing more than 30 mobile crisis centers.

However, some believe the plan is a good starting point, with more work to be done.

According to Bruce Cruser, executive director of Mental Health America in Virginia, more money has previously been allocated to hospital care rather than community care. Despite the fact that this plan alters that dynamic, he outlined what else needs to be addressed in the state’s mental-health landscape.

“What we don’t see there is funding for the Community Services Board’s employees, and they’re really the front line of care in the community to help prevent people from having to go into the hospital,” said Cruser.

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Additional Health Professionals

Virginia governor’s new three-year plan calls for 230 million dollars in funding for improvements to the mental health system. 

According to the plan, 106 of Virginia’s 133 counties have a mental health professional shortage.

The COVID-19 pandemic, according to Cruser, only exacerbated existing flaws in Virginia’s mental-health system. As a result, fewer people were able to receive the assistance they required.

While he appreciates the attention this plan is receiving, he laments the fact that it took years of crisis to reach this point.

Although the plan has widespread support, Cruser cautioned that its implementation will be difficult. He specifically stated that the insurance or Medicaid pay rate should be increased.

However, Cruser believes there are two aspects of this plan that will ensure people do not always end up in hospitals for behavioral-health issues.

“The mobile crisis and crisis receiving centers would help build that continuum of care in the community so that people don’t have to end up in the hospital,” Cruser explained. “They can get the care they need, they can get the crisis resolved, they can find the services they need in the community with much better outcomes.”

He went on to say that this would significantly improve the state’s mental-health system.

Cruser stated that he hopes to see this proposed plan become a package of legislation that will advance the state’s mental-health system during the next legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly.

Read more: Extended inflation relief payments in California: Where to expect yours?

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