Behavioral Health

The need for behavioral health services for Virginians has never been more clear.

While some help is available for those suffering from the most serious mental illnesses, few resources are available for uninsured Virginians trying to cope with depression, anxiety and other similar mental health challenges.  Untreated, these conditions interfere with families, jobs and lives.

How VHCF is Helping

VHCF has helped to underwrite, and encourage the approach of integrating delivery of behavioral health services and medical care to free clinics and health centers through a variety of grants and mental health roundtables.

The results related to patient outcomes have been remarkable, and the experience has exposed the shortages in Virginia’s behavioral health provider workforce. Much of the state has been designated a mental health professional shortage area (click here for current listing).

Scholarships for NPs seeking Psychiatric-Mental Health Certification

The Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) has a special scholarship program to underwrite tuition and fees for Nurse Practitioners (NP) who return to school to obtain a post-Master’s Psychiatric-Mental Health (Psych NP) NP Certificate and agree to work for 2-years as a Psych NP for an organization serving medically-underserved Virginians.

This is an excellent opportunity for experienced NPs to gain valuable behavioral health training to help address a huge unmet need in Virginia. To learn about the scholarship program, click here.

Other VHCF Behavioral Health Efforts:

VHCF Grants: Behavioral health project funding for new initiatives is available through VHCF’s grants dedicated to increasing access to health care.

VHCF Mental Health Provider Resources include access to regular Mental Health Roundtables and a host of reports, materials, podcasts and data on the successes and challenges of providing behavioral health care to Virginia’s uninsured and underserved.

Making Brighter Days Possible was a special 18-month initiative focused on increasing access to behavioral health services for uninsured and medically underserved Virginians. This initiative was made possible by a generous grant from Sentara. Each of the funded organizations used grant funds to hire behavioral health professionals to provide mental health services in person or via telemedicine. The grantees also defined goals for elevating the degree of behavioral health integration at the participating sites. 

Beyond Blue was a three-pronged behavioral health initiative launched in 2017 in celebration of the Foundation’s 25th anniversary. The three prongs include: the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner scholarship program; Defeating the Deadly Double, a population health initiative designed to improve outcomes for patients diagnosed with Diabetes and Depression; and the promotion of trauma informed care.

Trauma Informed Care and Resilience Tools VHCF has compiled a list of resources to learn about Trauma Informed Care and Resilience, a free introductory webinar series, and Resilience Building Blocks for Life cards. Additional in-person workshop and training opportunities are available (email Andrea Lancaster to learn more).

A New Lease On Life: Health for Virginians with Mental Illness was a $2 million special initiative to provide uninsured Virginians with treatment for basic mental health services, and to provide primary medical care and prescriptions medicines to uninsured Virginians with serious mental illness. It combined the expertise and talents of local health safety net organizations (free clinics, community health centers) and local community services boards to address serious unmet needs through two innovative approaches.

Through these and other grants and programs, VHCF is helping improve access to mental health care for Virginians statewide.

Last Updated on February 9, 2021

Changing Lives

“I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t gotten help.”

I didn’t realize that I had post-traumatic stress syndrome from all the abuse I suffered both as a child and an adult. It made me feel trapped and stupid.  I was angry all the time and kept everything bottled up until I exploded, because I didn’t have the coping skills to deal with that anger. […]

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