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New funding could help local mental health clinics

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From layoffs to health concerns, are you struggling to deal with the impact of COVID-19? If so, you're not alone.

The pandemic has taken a toll on people not only financially, but mentally too.

New federal grant money is available to help more people

The Missouri Department of Mental Health announced last week that it will receive $2.3 million as part of FEMA's Crisis Counseling Program.

Staff at Mark Twain Behavioral Health Clinic in Hannibal says this is a step in the right direction to help those who struggle to pay for care or don't have enough resources to get the services they need.

"Just the stress levels that people are under. Economic impact and job loss, things like that," CEO Michael Cantrell said.

"I do think it will be helpful and people will be in crisis or need and I think the funding is going to be used, I don't think it will be used as much in our area as it is in some of the bigger cities across the state."

Cantrell adds that the money could also improve the services that they are providing right now for people during the pandemic.

"We also take advantage of things like telehealth and video conferencing," Cantrell said.

"Before, those patients that could not get out, or afraid to get out, or have health concerns, or live too far away, or inclement weather, I think there will be a comfort level for patients and staff to use video conferencing and online virtual versus in the past."

No word on when they will receive funding.

State mental health director Mark Stringer said 6.1 million Missourians qualify for the crisis counseling program due to the stressors of COVID-19.

The state has also launched a new program called the “Show Me Hope” program.

It's free and provides information, education, and training on coping skills, problem-solving, and connection to community resources.

It's listed on the state's mental health department’s website.

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Don Dwyer

Don Dwyer is a Morning Anchor/Reporter at WGEM.

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