More than $3 Million to Expand and Improve Behavioral Health Services Across North Carolina

Investments Target Older Adults, Children, Rural Communities

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust announced grants of more than $3 million to expand mental health services and ensure behavioral health services are seamlessly integrated into primary care settings in multiple communities in North Carolina.

“Mental health is a key component of overall health. However, when someone visits his or her doctor for a checkup or a standard illness, mental health is often overlooked,” said Karen McNeil-Miller, president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. “We believe integrated care—that is bringing together behavioral and primary health care providers to assess and treat the whole person in a coordinated way—is key to ensuring better long-term health outcomes in many of the financially disadvantaged communities we serve.”

Specifically, Trust funding announced this month includes more than $2 million to bring nationally recognized, evidence-based depression care treatment to low-income older adults in Henderson, Madison, McDowell, Davie, Forsyth and Surry Counties. Known as IMPACT (Improving Mood: Promoting Access to Collaboration), the model includes a depression care manager for each patient; collaboration between a patient’s primary care physician, depression care manager and psychiatrist; monitoring a patient’s success; and adapting treatment if there is no improvement 10 to 12 weeks later.

“Depression and mental health issues are a growing concern for our state’s older adults, yet many families are unaware of these mental health needs or are unsure how to get help,” said Allen Smart, vice president of programs and director of the Trust’s Health Care Division. “The Trust continues to invest in evidence-based programs that are proven to work, and IMPACT is one of those programs that is showing strong results in other parts of the country. We’re committed to strengthening North Carolina’s system of care for older adults with behavioral health needs.”

The Trust’s Health Care Division also granted more than $280,000 to McDowell Hospital to integrate behavioral health services into a local pediatric primary care clinic serving financially disadvantaged children, and gave $188,000 to the North Carolina Institute of Medicine to develop a plan for a system of mental health and substance abuse care for adolescents and older adults.

The Trust’s Poor and Needy Division, which funds solely in Forsyth County, also granted $875,000 to Wake Forest University Health Services to bring integrated behavioral health services to Forsyth County’s low-income adults, a service not previously offered in this community. The funds will be used to offer behavioral health care in coordination with existing primary care services at the Baptist Health’s Downtown Health Plaza, which serves many uninsured and underinsured individuals.

Overall, the Trust’s Health Care Division made 44 grants totaling more than $10.6 million this cycle to improve the health of low-income individuals across the state.

In addition to investing in mental health services, the Trust also granted $150,000 to Pitt County Health Department to support Nurse-Family Partnership, a program that pairs low-income, first-time moms with a nurse who visits them at home until the baby turns two. The Trust has supported Nurse-Family Partnership in multiple North Carolina counties since 2008. To date, the program has served more than 2400 mothers and welcomed more than 1500 babies in the state.

The Trust also continued its work to improve health and health care in rural communities as part of its Healthy Places NC work, a long-term Trust initiative to invest $100 million in 10 to 15 rural, low-income North Carolina counties.  The Trust has invited five counties—Halifax, Beaufort, McDowell Burke and Rockingham—to participate to date and will announce additional counties in the coming year. In each county, Healthy Places work and projects are driven by the community’s concerns, as well as by where the Trust thinks there’s an opportunity for sustainable, long-term change. Trust investments this grant cycle include improvements to school fitness equipment, new equipment at a rural health center and leadership training and resources for nonprofit directors.