Investing in Mental Health Services

County government leaders want to invest more in mental health services, and part of that effort is to partner with nonprofit organizations. As part of the current fiscal year 2017, the county contributes $304,763 to provide four employees to the LINC program, the local match to the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Coordinated Specialty Care Program grant. Next year’s budget includes the same amount.

What’s more, the county will be expanding its Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Developmental Services next fiscal year, if straw poll voting holds up; supervisors have voted for $2.3 million in new spending in that department.

Some of those expenses are incorporating temporary or grant-funded positions into the regular budget, such as the Crisis Intervention Team Assessment Center, and one in-home support staff worker. Others, such as a $275,000 enhancement to mental health and substance abuse contracts, a substance abuse contract manager, were already in the county administrator’s proposed budget before supervisors started their votes, and many programs are partially offset by additional state revenues—or in the case of the $535,547, six-position expansion of the early intervention program, completely paid for with state money.

Two department enhancements were voted into the budget during a work session earlier this month: a $123,985 Job Link contract manager, who helps connect people with intellectual and physical disabilities with competitive employment; and a $600,000 enhancement in contract funding for services like Every Citizen Has Opportunity, which provides supported employment for people with disabilities.

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