BERLIN – Two grants totaling $250,000 are expected to expand mental health services in Worcester County.
On Wednesday, officials with Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services announced the nonprofit had secured $250,000 in grants to fund two clinicians over the course of two years.
Steve Taylor, executive director of Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, said the nonprofit received a $125,000 grant from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission and another $125,000 grant from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to hire additional clinicians for its counseling program.
Taylor said the program serves between 400 and 450 people annually.
“We employ about six full-time and four part-time therapists and we can’t hire enough to keep up with demand,” he said. “We have a waiting list of about 15 people and some of the waiting periods are three months to six months.”
In an effort to expand mental health services on the Eastern Shore, Taylor said the nonprofit reached out to both the public and private entities for support.
“We have been successful in obtaining two grants, each for $125,000,” he said. “So this organization is receiving $250,000 to expand access to mental health care.”
Taylor said the two individuals will be under clinical supervision while they provide counseling and therapy services to people in the community.
“These individuals have received all the training necessary, but they have to go into a 2,000-hour clinical supervision period before they can start billing insurances for their services,” Taylor said. “These grants will cover that two-year period while they are under supervision.”
Dr. Allan Anderson, chair of the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, said the $125,000 grant was one of 48 grants given throughout the life of the commission.
“We’re invested at the commission level … to expand behavioral health services,” he said.
Anderson said he expects the grant will help Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services to provide additional mental health services in a rural area.
“This grant will enable Worcester Youth and Family to hire additional therapists, serve more individuals and reduce the current wait time,” he said.
Delegate Mary Beth Carozza – who Taylor said was instrumental in connecting Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services with the state commission – commended the nonprofit for leveraging dollars and gathering the support of both public and private partners.
“I’m convinced this is the way that we need to continue to work together,” she said. “Through these partnerships, we can leverage these dollars. In the end, we are going to serve more of our families and serve more of our youth …”