Uninsured children in the Upper Cumberland can now receive free mental health services at any Volunteer Behavioral Health location.
Plateau Mental Health Center Director Anna Stamps said the new grant program will help fill a need in the Upper Cumberland, especially with changes in education causing children to be more isolated.
“I think it is real important for us to kind of keep an eye out on our kids,” Stamps said. “Make sure that they are not showing any signs or symptoms of depression or anxiety.”
Stamps said new outreach coordinator positions were also implemented with the grant program. These staff members are tasked with educating community partners about the program and helping potentials clients obtain services.
“We hired a coordinator that is going to assist in our Upper Cumberland area in providing information to those entities that may come across a child that would be uninsured for behavioral health like through the health departments and school systems.”
A $7 million extension appropriated by the Tennessee General Assembly and Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee’s Behavioral Health Safety Net funds the new program.
“The Behavioral Health Safety Net had always been there for adults,” Stamps said. “Then come September 1, the state unrolled it for children and adolescences.”
Eligible children must be 3-17 years old, a resident of Tennessee, have an income at or below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and have a qualifying mental health diagnosis.