Henderson County inmates to receive mental health, recovery services from Free Clinics, Vaya Health
Times News - 1/26/2020
Jan. 25--Vaya Health and The Free Clinics are teaming up to help Henderson County Detention Center inmates get counseling and other support to tackle mental health and addiction challenges.
The Free Clinics will receive county funding through Vaya to assume responsibility for the jail's behavioral health services, according to a news release from Vaya Health.
The funding will allow The Free Clinics to hire a full-time employee to provide assessments, therapy and case management services for inmates with mental health or substance use concerns.
The Free Clinics, located in Hendersonville, currently operates an integrated group program in the detention center. The additional funding for behavioral health services, as well as additional funds from the county for a full-time patient navigator, will provide inmates with a more streamlined, broader system of support and connections to behavioral health and medical providers and social services once they are released from detention, according to the release.
That may include care directly from The Free Clinics or referrals for medical, psychiatric and pharmacy services available to low-income individuals without insurance, in addition to referrals for help with food, housing, transportation and more.
Over 70% of adults involved in the criminal justice system have substance use disorders, and up to 34% have serious mental illnesses, according to the Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration. Those rates greatly exceed those found in the general population.
Vaya, a public managed health care organization, oversees Medicaid and other government funding for mental health, substance use and developmental disability services in 22 North Carolina counties, including Henderson County.
For several years, Vaya has managed funds to help support The Free Clinics' pharmacy services for residents, the release says.
"We're looking forward to partnering with Henderson County and The Free Clinics to offer quality services and support to inmates and link them with community resources upon release," Vaya CEO Brian Ingraham stated in the release. "When individuals pursue mental health and substance use recovery, families and communities also benefit."
"These new services at the jail and in the community will help ensure inmates with behavioral health concerns are afforded a more seamless transition to care once released from detention," Executive Director Judith Long said in the release.
Sheriff Lowell Griffin added, "Both The Free Clinics and Vaya Health provide compassionate and specialized services in our community. At the Henderson County Sheriff's Office, our goal, by virtue of this partnership, is to provide an opportunity for individuals with behavioral health challenges to regain and manage their lives with hope and purpose."
The Free Clinics is also working with the Henderson County Department of Public Health to staff a Post-Overdose Response Team through a grant from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The grant will fund two peer support outreach specialist positions to help prevent repeat overdoses.
The team will also reach out to identified individuals recently released from detention who agree to participate, according to Vaya Health.
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