Lewis County Commissioners approved a $173,000 request from Valley View Health Center to create a proposed mental health treatment program available to all residents during their meeting Feb. 11.
Coming from a fund set up after the passage of a 0.1% sales tax increase in June of 2011, the $173,000 was needed to apply for a matching Social Innovation grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation, for which Valley View was able to apply by the Feb. 18 deadline.
The Social Innovation Fund is available to organizations in rural communities throughout Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Alaska who are considered underserved in the area of mental health treatment. County Commissioners and other local leaders have been expressing frustration with the current state of mental health treatment in Lewis County, stating those who receive treatment often do so while in jail and receive no follow-up once they are released.
If awarded the grant, Valley View could have the program up and running as soon as August, according to Grant Writer Heidi Zipperer.
“Once awarded, Valley View Health Center would need time to recruit behavioral health providers,” said Zipperer, stating the hiring process may take six to eight weeks.
The health providers would serve as counselors targeting patients with depression and identifying destructive behavior that could hurt the patient or others if left untreated.
Zipperer added the grant will be awarded for two years with the option of a third year if the program is found to be successful.To learn more about the progress of the mental health treatment program, contact Valley View Health Center at www.vvhc.org.