[Nameplate] Overcast ~ 74°F  
High: 90°F ~ Low: 74°F
Monday, Sep. 1, 2014

Federal grants fund projects designed to improve health

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

(Photo)
David Terrell, Laura Stone, Karan Evans and Cheryl Jones, all of Bootheel Counseling Services, look over job applications.
SIKESTON -- Three Sikeston-area organizations were recently awarded Missouri Foundation for Health grants aimed to treat mental health and substance abuse, combat and prevent obesity and maintain existing programs and services.

Bootheel Counseling Services, Bootheel Regional Consortium and New Madrid County Health Department are among 13 Southeast Missouri organizations to share $2,529,908 in grants recently made by the Foundation.

Bootheel Counseling Services in Sikeston was awarded earlier this month a $273,024 grant to support its new collaborative effort with area organizations and hospitals called Integrated Services for Individuals with Severe Mental Illnesses and Substance Abuse Disorders.

Laura Stone, director of fund development and public relations for Bootheel Counseling Services, said the grant will work to treat adults who have both mental illnesses and substance abuse diseases. funding started Nov. 1.

"We're in the very beginning stages, and this is a three-year project," Stone said.

Bootheel Counseling received the three-year grant through MFH's Co-

Occurring Disorders priority area focus on eliminating the traditional barriers between mental health and substance abuse systems.

"An estimated 80,000 Missourians with a serious mental health issue also are dependent on alcohol or illegal drugs," says Dr. James Kimmey, MFH's president and CEO.

Traditionally, these people would receive separate treatment for mental health issues and substance abuse problems, Kimmey said. This grant makes it possible to treat co-occurring individuals, an approach which has been shown to improve outcomes and have higher success rates, he said.

"It is possible for adults to receive treatment for both mental illness and substance abuse in the same location; however, funding isn't available in most agencies, especially agencies in Southeast Missouri, and especially in Scott, New Madrid, Stoddard and Mississippi counties, which is our service area," Stone said.

Prior to this grant, which targets uninsured or under-insured adults, Bootheel Counseling only received funding to provide counseling for mental health illnesses, Stone said.

"It was a major need. This is a new area of focus and a lot of organizations are going to focus on treating this population of individuals," Stone said about the grant.

One of the first items on Bootheel Counseling's agenda is to hire a project coordinator who is a qualified substance abuse professional, Stone said. The first year of the project will be to get it running, hire the coordinator and train staff while the second and third years will be for providing treatment, she said.

"We're really excited about this project and hope in the future, after it's complete, there will be additional funding so we can continue this program and help these individuals."

Bootheel Regional Consortium in Sikeston received a $35,000 grant to fund leadership/staff development activities, including strategic planning and grants management. It is the recipient of a two-year Basic Support grant, which helps organizations maintain existing programs and services.

Also receiving an MFH grant, in the amount of $259,759, was New Madrid County Health Department. The health department is the recipient of a two-

year grant through MFH's Healthy and Active Communities Program, which aims to address and prevent obesity and promote active and healthy lifestyles.

New Madrid County Health Department Administrator Dr. Charles Baker said the grant will cover most of the cost of walking trails in Gideon and Lilbourn and is designed to encourage more healthy eating and more physical activity in an attempt to battle obesity. Work will begin with three elementary schools and five African-American churches, he said.

The project period will run through November 2008 and will utilize services of the University of Missouri Extension.