2 Western Massachusetts agencies receive $8 million to treat drug addiction, mental health

More than 1,000 people suffering from drug addiction and mental health issues will be able to receive treatment after two Western Massachusetts agencies each received $4 million grants over two years to expand services.

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded funding from the 2018 Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics Expansion Grant to Springfield-based Behavioral Health Network Inc. and Northampton-based Clinical & Support Options.

“We’ll be able to cover the entire Western Massachusetts (with services between the two agencies),” said Karin Jeffers, CEO of Clinical & Support Options. “This is a huge plus for this area.”

The funding for Clinical & Support Options will allow the agency to hire 24 people, including nurses, clinicians, psychiatry and peer counseling staff and wellness coaches, and expand services at sites in Greenfield, Athol and Northampton.

The grant will pay for new programs and for the wellness program to be resurrected, said Sarah Tanner, Clinical & Support Options director of marketing and development.

The agency will also be able to create a “Living Room” program where people could stop in if they needed services or treatment that day.

Clinical & Support Options and Behavioral Health Network are the only agencies in Massachusetts to receive the grants that ranged from $1.6 million to $2 million a year for two years. Twenty-five grants were awarded nationwide.

“We’re really excited. It’s a national model that is really taking hold across the country,” Jeffers said of the federal program. “This is Massachusetts’ first opportunity.”

No one from Behavioral Health could be reached for comment.

According to the grant description, the goal of the funding is “to improve the behavioral health of individuals across the nation by providing comprehensive community-based mental and substance use disorder services; treatment of co-occurring disorders; advance the integration of behavioral health with physical health care; assimilate and utilize evidence-based practices on a more consistent basis, and promote improved access to high quality care.”

More than 1,000 people have died this year from opioids, according to state numbers.

Last month, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center program awarded a $2 million grant to Clinical & Support Options to create a program to treat homeless people at the Friends of the Homeless Shelter in Springfield..

 

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