New mental health care program launched in Virginia
The Virginia Health Care Foundation has announced a new $1.5 million program designed to increase access to mental health care for uninsured residents and those with little to no medical care. Richmond Times Dispatch reports Beyond Blue was revealed on Monday as a two-year initiative beginning this summer. It will focus on the number of psychiatric nurse practitioners in Virginia, treating depression in diabetic patients and implementing a trauma-informed care approach. Ralph Howell, chairman of the foundation's board of trustees, says depression and anxiety are common among patients. He says three-quarters of Virginia are in a federally designated shortage area for mental health professionals. There are only 213 psychiatric nurse practitioners in the state. Foundation Executive Director Debbie Oswalt says $1.1 million has been raised so far.