New Federal Funding for Alaska
Alaska Behavioral Health recently began work under two new federal grants to expand access to mental health services for Alaskans.
Services for Children
Alaska Behavioral Health has begun work under a new grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).
AKBH received a Category III service delivery grant to expand access to mental health services through a concentrated outreach effort to reach children and families in Alaska impacted by trauma. The outreach program will work with schools, the POWER Center youth drop-in program, and the All-Alaska Pediatric Partnership to identify and engage families needing trauma-focused services. Alaska Behavioral Health will provide a variety of evidence-based services to a diverse population, including a high proportion of children involved with the child protection system. Child & Family Clinic Director Kristin Mortenson says, “Alaska has high rates of child abuse and neglect, and we know that we can make a real difference in children’s lives by identifying those who need support and giving them the space and skills to heal.”
COVID Relief Funding
Alaska Behavioral Health was one of 231 community mental health center around the country to receive funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as part of the agency’s COVID-19 response. The COVID=19 pandemic as resulted in measurable increases in need for mental health services, and the funding is designed to expand capacity to meet that need.
When there are large scale stressors that affect the entire population, most of the growth in clinical need for children and adults is for outpatient services. As Christine Alvarez, Chief Clinical Officer for Adult Services, notes, “This pandemic is impacting all behavioral conditions responsive to stress. This money will help us hire more clinicians who can provide treatment to respond to the increase in general mental health needs.”
The funding is especially helpful as state funding has remained flat over the last several years, while AKBH has more than doubled the number of clients served over the last 3 years.