Two community mental health centers in New Hampshire are getting sizable federal grants to improve and expand their services.
Greater Nashua Mental Health and West Central Behavioral Health, which serves Sullivan County and the Upper Valley, will each receive about $4 million over four years.
The planning and implementation grants are aimed at helping them become certified community behavioral health clinics. That means they must meet certain standards and either provide or refer clients to a comprehensive range of services, including 24-hour mobile crisis teams, certain forms of mental-health and substance-use treatment, and services for veterans.
Representatives of the two mental health centers said they already meet many of the requirements. But the grant money will help them expand existing programs, hire additional staff and assess where more is needed.
Cynthia Whitaker, president and CEO of Greater Nashua Mental Health, said the grants are a much-needed investment to help build out New Hampshire’s mental health infrastructure, which she says has been underfunded for a number of years .
The funds will also help the organization step back and evaluate what it needs to improve, and where to build capacity. That can be hard to do when staff are busy serving clients day to day, she said.
David Celone, the director of development and community relations at West Central Behavioral Health, said the organization will have to scale up its services for veterans. The grant should also allow it to expand existing programs.
“This will bolster that by adding a level of financial support that we haven’t had before, so that we can add more positions, add more capacity,” he said.
The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester received a similar grant last year, the first in New Hampshire.