RVBH receives grant to expand child services

RiverValley Behavioral Health’s Mary Kay Lamb, vice president of case management services, from left, Dr. Wanda Figueroa, president and CEO, and Jeff Jones, board chair, stand Tuesday in the conference room at the facility in Owensboro.

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, RiverValley Behavioral Health announced it will expand its mental health services for children and families with the addition of Systems of Care V.

The program will be funded by a new federal grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration totaling $400,000.

A System of Care, or SOC, is an array of community-based services for youth at risk for behavioral health challenges, as well as their families. The system must also address cultural and linguistic needs to help youth and their families function better in school, the community and in life.

RVBH’s new SOC V will offer four services: respite for families, targeted case management, in-home services and a 24-7 mobile crisis unit.

“The Systems of Care is a … treatment that helps children who are at-risk for neglect or abuse to get services that could help them stay safe within their families, or children who are already involved with child protective services,” said CEO Wanda Figueroa.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 4 million youth have a serious mental health condition affecting their daily lives.

One in six children experiences a mental health crisis with less than half receiving treatment. Part of this is a result of access to mental healthcare being a challenge for many families due to stigma, economic or financial factors, transportation and lack of trained clinicians.

RVBH, according to Figueroa, has worked to remove these and other barriers to make mental health services more accessible in the community.

Figueroa said RVBH is equipped to provide mental health services ranging from prevention, substance abuse counseling, medical services, case management, residential services and inpatient care for youth.

Right now, she said, is a vital time to focus on mental health, especially for children, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the isolation, anxiety and stress it has caused for youth and families.

“Stress and anxiety can generate a situation where children are hurt or neglected,” she said.

During the pandemic, she said calls to RVBH’s crisis hotline have increased about 400%.

“The need for mental health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities services by qualified providers continues to increase. There is added stress and anxiety, especially after the yearlong pandemic,” she said.

“Our team has worked endlessly to develop programs that remove barriers to treatment, We are excited to announce two new programs in collaboration with the commonwealth and community partners.”

Christie Netherton, [email protected], 270-691-7360

Published on May 6, 2021