PITTSBURG, Kan. — Administrators at the Crawford County Mental Health Center say they’ve seen services grow one year after a four-million-dollar expansion grant.

“We’ve increased the number of clients we serve by 78%. One of the programs we developed is same-day access, and we were able to increase our clients by 29%, and I’m super excited as a clinician about that number,” said Amy Glines, CCMHC Deputy Director.

More recently, the Crawford County Mental Health Center received its provisional state certification as a “Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic.”

As part of the transition to that model of care, the center has developed and implemented many new programs and services.

“This is a very underserved population in Kansas. We just struggle with recruiting therapists and psychiatrists and people to treat people with mental illness. We are doing our best to meet the demand in the area,” said Glines.

“Not only is it us, it’s a nationwide problem. There’s a shortage of qualified mental health professionals, a shortage of psychiatrists, so being able to have this funding, these grants, these state grants, federal grants, we’re able to retain, recruit, provide more services, and try to meet some of those unmet needs,” said Heather Spaur, CCMHC Executive Director.

The clinic originally estimated serving thirteen hundred people in the first year; however, they exceeded that number, serving close to twenty-eight hundred people agency-wide.

“One of the big pushes was CCBHC, both at the state and federal level, is crisis services. So that’s something that we’re really growing and expanding. Traditionally, there is not a good funding source for that at all, and those are the individuals that are at the highest risk,” said Spaur.

“Our agency is looking at some youth crisis services. We have a mobile unit that we’re hoping to do some more outreach to reach people who may not have the ability to come into our clinic,” said Glines.

Thursday from noon to 1 o’clock at the Memorial Auditorium in Pittsburg, they’ll host their inaugural Community Veteran Day Celebration to provide a free lunch and information about their programs serving the needs of local veterans.

“Part of that system helps look at veterans, service members, or family members, connecting them with benefits, letting them know what’s available, how to access them,” said Spaur.

“After the needs assessment, we determine if we can be helpful with any needs that they have, including housing, income, getting linked to the VA,” said Glines.