Tulsa’s Family & Children’s Services (F&CS) will receive $5 million for a “Bridging the Gap” project as part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) commitment to invest $825 million in Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) across the nation.
F&CS’s Bridging the Gap project aims to improve transitions of care from inpatient or crisis to outpatient care for adults and children.
F&CS, the largest Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) in Oklahoma, will expand services for vulnerable child and adult populations impacted by COVID-19, addressing the needs of individuals who have a serious emotional disturbance (SED) or serious mental illness (SMI), as well as individuals with SED or SMI and substance use disorders, referred to as a co-occurring disorder (COD).
Bridging the Gap will help more Tulsa area adults living with SMI/COD, and children living with SED, who actively participate in post-hospitalization outpatient treatment by using proven strategies to effectively bridge clients to outpatient care in order to improve clinical outcomes; develop a mobile crisis response and stabilization intervention for Tulsa Public Schools district (77 schools) for children presenting in crisis during the school day; and improve the school system’s ability to respond to children with mental health needs through evidence-based training for TPS staff.
Bridging the Gap will also focus on the needs on minorities and individuals residing in economically disadvantaged communities in Tulsa County. The project will serve adults and children who are discharged from psychiatric hospitalization and in need of enhanced transition support to outpatient behavioral health care services. This project will also help students in the Tulsa Public School (TPS) system in need of school-based crisis intervention and/or outpatient behavioral health care services.
This project includes strategies that provide wraparound services through teams of mental health professionals (credentialed therapists, case managers, care coordinators, behavioral health aides and peer recovery support specialists) providing evidence-based practices through services delivered either via telehealth, in office, at home or at school. These wraparound services will include comprehensive, trauma-informed, patient-centered transitional plans and outpatient services. The Bridging the Gap project will, therefore, ameliorate barriers to outpatient engagement, thereby reducing the risk of symptom exacerbation, relapse, hospital readmissions and suicide.
The funding, which comes from the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2021 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplement (CRRS) Act of 2021, reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to supporting and expanding access to mental health and behavioral support as Americans continue to confront the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from August 2020 through February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of anxiety or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4 percent to 41.5 percent, and the percentage of those reporting unmet mental health care needs increasing from 9.2 percent to 11.7 percent.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of Americans’ lives – these disruptions are especially difficult for people battling mental health disorders,” said U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Thanks to the CAA and CRRS Acts, we’re investing record-breaking funding in community mental health centers, which are often on the frontlines serving our most vulnerable communities.”
“Every American deserves access to behavioral health services in the communities where they live, and we recognize the urgent need to bolster those services for minority populations and those living in economically disadvantaged communities,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., the U.S. HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA. “The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our ability to ensure timely access to treatment services and recovery supports. This funding will help CMHCs address local needs, which have become even more urgent in the past year.”