Phoenix allocates $9 million to expand mental health resources

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the allocation of $9 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to expand mental health resources.

Mercy Care, Maricopa County’s regional behavioral health authority, will receive the funding to continue providing access to health services for the uninsured or underinsured. These services include transitional housing, behavioral health screening, mental health counselling, addiction treatment and case management.

“We continue to see more and more residents needing help with mental or behavioral health issues,” Mayor Kate Gallego said in a news release.

“With Mercy Care’s network of more than 200 service locations across the city, we will help up to 100 additional adults, children and families each month, many of whom are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.”

More than half a million people in the state who are eligible for Medicaid are accessing health services through the nonprofit Mercy Care, the city said, with the plan overseeing the health crisis system behavior of the county.

“The pandemic has created unprecedented mental and behavioral health challenges for so many people,” Tad Gary, deputy chief executive of Mercy Care, said in the statement.

“We appreciate the city’s confidence in Mercy Care, and we look forward to helping Phoenix residents get the care and services they need to face these challenges.

The organization also works with first responders, the city said, including the Phoenix Fire and Police Department and Department of Social Services.

The additional funding goes hand-in-hand with the $15 million Phoenix has budgeted for its Community Assistance Program to provide similar services.

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