Commissioners approve $ 7 million for mental health programs

Kitsap County’s mental health and chemical addiction programs received a boost with $ 7 million in funding over the next year.

The financial support will fund nearly three dozen projects in Kitsap County aimed at improving the lives of people with mental health issues or chemical addictions, officials said. “This cycle provides not only funding for the prosecution, but also targeted investments in new and emerging programs in our community,” County Commissioner Rob Gelder said.

Members of an 11-member advisory committee were appointed by the commissioners to advise them on funding. The committee recommended funding for 33 of the 37 proposals. Commissioners voted to implement the committee’s recommendations. “The process has been extremely difficult due to even greater community needs this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each proposal provided services that would greatly benefit our community, ”said Jeannie Screws, committee chair.

Twenty-one of the programs have been approved for continued funding while a dozen new projects have been given the green light for financial support.

The source of the $ 7 million funding is 1/10 of the 1% Sales and Use Tax, which is designed for Kitsap County Mental Health, Chemical Addiction and Therapeutic Courts. The special tax was first approved by the commissioners in 2013.

One of the newly funded projects will allow Peninsula Community Health Services to provide additional school-based behavioral health services to young people – two licensed mental health counselors and a substance use disorder professional. CEO Jennifer Kreidler-Moss said the $ 294,500 will allow us to serve 125 students with approximately 1,000 visits. The new staff will be placed at Central Kitsap and allow other staff to serve more students in the county.

The new staff will provide students with advice on a myriad of issues, such as tackling bullying in school and helping students re-enter in-person learning, Kreidler-Moss said. Young people will also receive additional professional advice on everything from vaping to experimenting with alcohol.

Kitsap Community Resources received the largest tranche of funding, with $ 684,000. “There was a sense of relief when we learned that we had additional funds available to serve the residents of Kitsap,” said Stacy Doré, KCR Director of Development.

KCR is a community action program that annually serves 27,000 county residents, or 10% of the county’s population, among its three divisions – housing and homelessness services, employment and training, and homelessness services. preschool and family learning, said Doré. The financial support will allow KCR to hire a behavioral therapist to work with homeless clients who often need extra attention, she said, adding that the funding addresses a need that has existed for a decade. .

The new funding was also approved for animal-assisted mental health counseling, intensive therapy services for youth not covered by Medicaid, on-site counseling services at the Fishline Food Bank, and comprehensive services at the YWCA, have officials said.

Several court programs have received ongoing funding, including the Behavioral Health Court, the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court, and the Veterans Court. Law enforcement programs received extended funding for crisis intervention training for police and a crisis intervention officer to coordinate responses to behavioral health calls and prison reintegration services.

Several housing projects have also been funded to help people with behavioral health issues. These include Kitsap Rescue Mission, Kitsap Homes of Compassion, Pendleton Place, Eagles Wings, and West Sound Treatment Center. Kitsap Community Resources and Scarlet Road received funding for specialized rental assistance for people with behavioral health disorders.

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