“As we’ve moved through this pandemic, and whatever phase we’re moving into right now, we’ve seen an increase demand for mental health services,” Olmsted County deputy county administrator Travis Gransee said. It’s part of a project funded by federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act. It’s a program created to speed up the United States’ recovery from the economic and health effects of the pandemic. The majority of the $1 million investment will fund positions and resources in the county, but $125,000 of the funds will go toward Family Service Rochester, a local community-based social service
“With the level of uncertainness, about how things are going to go, if their family has been impacted by COVID kind of those what ifs that drive worry,” Family Service Rochester director of clinical services Ashleigh Dowis said. The funding will help add an additional therapist to the Family Service team up until 2024. “With the addition of that therapist, we anticipate that they’d be able to serve more of the adolescents that we refer in their direction,” Gransee said. The non-profit works with all ages, but sees a high rate of children and teens seeking help for anxiety.
“Right now, being able to support adolescents in their mental health journey, their wellness journey if you will is really important to us,” Dowis said. The county and mental health providers agree addressing these mental health concerns is essential in helping children thrive the rest of their life. “It will improve school attendance. It will improve school behavior. It will improve engagement and other social activities,” Gransee said. “Whether that’s learning about identifying feelings and how to manage conflict through problem solving at a young age can really help give voice to what a child or a youth is experiencing,” Dowis said.
This is the second installment of American Rescue Plan Act funds the county has received. In total, the county was awarded nearly $31 million.
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