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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) in conjunction with Governor Evers, has recently awarded more than $2.5 million dollars to 27 providers for community behavioral health services across the state of Wisconsin. This initiative is taking place in counties around the state including both Racine and Kenosha. The finances that have been awarded will provide access to mental health and substance use treatment and recovery support via telehealth medicine. Those receiving grants include health care systems, counseling practices, and wellness centers.

This is a one-time funding opportunity that comes from the American Rescue Plan Act. The goal of the act is to expand access to these important services by removing location and technology barriers to care. It will allow private behavioral health telehealth stations, with the tools needed for virtual appointments. This will allow people access to the resources they need in common locations such as community centers, food pantries, homeless shelters, libraries, long-term care facilities, and schools.

DHS received 38 applications through this competitive grant process. Those who will receive the funding will receive funding this fall and contracts will last for one year. All of the neighborhood telehealth access points should be operational by no later than summer 2023.

“Every Wisconsinite should have access to quality, affordable health care they need when they need it, and that includes behavioral and mental health services,” said Gov. Evers. “These grants will help ensure more folks can meet with a provider no matter where they live, closing gaps in services and building a behavioral health system that works for everyone at a time when treatment and recovery supports for mental health and substance use are more important than ever.”

The West Grove Clinic was awarded $100,000 to serve Racine and the Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Marinette, Milwaukee, Oconto, and Shawano areas according to DHS. Including access to Racine is the WestCare Wisconsin which was also $100,000 for all counties in Wisconsin. View the list of grantees, the award amounts, and the service area for each grantee per DHS.

“Through these grants we are promoting trauma-informed and culturally responsive behavioral health services by meeting clients where they are,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “These grants will make it possible for behavioral health providers across Wisconsin to create secure, community-based access points for behavioral health services.”

More on Mental and Behavioral Health

Last year, Gov. Evers and DHS committed $47 million in additional Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant and Community Mental Health Services Block Grant funding through 2025. The funding will increase community-level prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery supports through partnerships with tribal, county, and nonprofit agencies.

Additionally, this year Gov. Evers announced that nearly every school district across the state, including more than 450 local education agencies, will be awarded funds through the governor’s $15 million “Get Kids Ahead” initiative.

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