If the coronavirus outbreak has shown Tennesseans anything, it's how important medical facilities are to communities. It's also shown that some counties are more equipped to handle medical and mental health needs than others.
The federal government is giving the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services a $10 million grant for a pair of mobile health clinics that will serve a total of 10 counties, as part of Project Rural Recovery. The clinics will serve five counties in Middle Tennessee and five counties in East Tennessee.
Funding will be spread over five years, and the clinics will help serve the behavioral and physical health needs of their counties.
The department said it selected the counties to get services based on whether they were considered distressed and based on their need for services.
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In East Tennessee, the mobile health clinic program will serve Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hancock and Jefferson counties, according to a release from the department. In Middle Tennessee, Lawrence, Lewis, Marshall, Perry and Wayne counties will get services.
The department also said it would work with community behavioral health providers, such as Buffalo Valley Inc. and the Helen Ross McNabb Center, to provide mental health services in the counties.
“We are truly grateful to our federal partners, our governor for his leadership, our community providers, and our team at the department," said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams. "This grant is going to have a legendary impact for years to come.”
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