Southside organizations receive big grants to address opioid, mental health issues

Grants total more than $500,000

DANVILLE, Va. – Piedmont Access to Health Services has just received a $285,000 grant from the federal government.

The organization is headquartered in Danville but has offices in Martinsville, Chatham and Boydton.

CEO Kay Crane said the money may be used in schools.

"We are looking at partnering with the schools to put a licensed clinical social worker with substance abuse experience to work with students who are at risk; to do education. The same for mental health," Crane explained.

Which school or schools the social worker would work in has yet to be determined.

"We've got to meet with the schools to see what their needs are," Crane said. "We feel like there's going to be continuing funding coming down from the (federal government) for this program because it is so important. So if we can develop a model of how this would work, then we can roll it out to all of our sites and hopefully be a model for the state to follow."

Crane is also considering using the money for prevention education in schools and medication assistance treatment for people trying to stop using opioids.

The Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness received a grant for just over $217,000.

It will be used to hire a social worker to help assess patients' needs.

"She could refer them to the peer review specialist or she could actually refer them up to the mental health nurse practitioner who could then make a determination of the possibility of whether they need to go on to see a psychologist or psychiatrist," Farley said.

The peer review specialist and mental health practitioner will also be hired using the grant money.

"The main thing is, we're excited to have the money to be able to help the (population) here in Henry County," Farley said.

Organizations in Roanoke, Christiansburg, and Lexington also received grants.

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