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Consortium Awarded Grant to Address Mental Health
COLLINS, Miss – Covington County Hospital (CCH) will soon employ mental health counselors as the result of a recent grant awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
Covington County Hospital, together with partners Covington County School District (CCSD), Covington County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), and Sustaining Grace Recovery Ministries (SGRM), have been awarded a grant of two million dollars to be divided over a four-year period.
The group has formed the Covington County Consortium for Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery to increase access to mental health services for residents of Covington County who are affected by behavioral health conditions, including substance use disorder, opioid use disorder, and mental health disorders.
“The consortium was formed in direct response to data that identified the county’s health needs,” said Dr. Gregory M. Cole, Grant Manager for CCH. “It represents the front-line agencies’ first formal, collaborative commitment to specifically address mental health problems in Covington County.”
Although the consortium will serve all Covington County residents, special focus will be given to adolescents and criminal justice-involved individuals, all of whom currently have limited or no access to behavioral health services within the county.
CCH will serve as the lead administrator on behalf of the consortium. The hospital will be responsible for employing mental health professionals and establishing an internship program with the University of Southern Mississippi to serve as a workforce pipeline.
The system of care developed by the consortium will provide evidence-based behavioral health treatment (including cognitive behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment) to approximately 800 county residents, including at least 260 students and 300 incarcerated individuals. A protocol to refer students will be developed in all nine CCSD schools and performed by 27 student-facing staff trained in trauma-informed, sensitive, and responsive care. Trauma-informed care training will be provided to 50 criminal justice professionals, and a system will be developed to distribute naloxone to qualifying detainees upon release.
“We continue to take intentional steps toward addressing the behavioral health needs of our service area by creating access to care,” said CCH CEO Gregg Gibbes. “Covington has demonstrated, time and time again, that a small rural hospital in Mississippi can be successful, and it’s something we are very proud of.”
Dr. Cole will serve as the principal investigator and project manager for this program.
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