VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Auhtor's note: The video above is on file from July 12, 2021.
An ordinance to authorize a $200,000 grant to retain and attract mental health providers will be considered by the Virginia Beach City Council.
Councilman Michael Berlucchi of the Rose Hall District has proposed that council approve the grant, which would go to the Hampton Roads Workforce Council to help with the increased need for mental health services.
“There is a mental health crisis in Virginia, and we are experiencing the impacts of this crisis right here in Virginia Beach. This crisis is an emergent health threat and the effects are experienced by virtually every family in Virginia Beach. We must take action,” Berlucchi said in a statement.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, an imbalance has been growing between the availability of services due to crisis facilities reaching capacity and the increased level of vacant positions in the mental health provider field.
“This program will improve access and delivery of vital mental health services to Virginia Beach residents who experience mental illness and their families,” Berlucchi said.
If approved, the grant would also signal a partnership between the city and the Hampton Roads Workforce Council. It would create a program where mental health non-profits and providers could more easily access funds to encourage providers to either come to the area or stay.
The ordinance will be up for consideration at city council's October 6 meeting.
Earlier this year, Hampton Roads' largest mental health provider, Christian Psychotherapy Services, closed unexpectedly.
Local doctors have emphasized the vital need for an increase in mental health facilities and providers.