Omaha organization to use ARPA funds to expand mental health resources

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – The American Rescue Plan Act will soon make a difference to mental health services in Omaha.

Before the pandemic, one in five children needed mental health services, according to Jyotsna Ranga, child and adolescent psychiatrist at CHI Health.

“The number of child psychiatrists in our country right now is about 8,000 and we need about 30,000. And of the 8,000 child psychiatrists, more than half will be nearing retirement age in the next 10 years,” Ranga said.

She says demand is now even higher and recruitment is low.

“I think the shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists, as well as other experts in the mental health field, really ties our hands in terms of what we need to provide for the younger people in the population,” said Rank.

Recruitment and retention are things the Child Saving Institute said it would use its ARPA funding for.

“Mental health has become a priority, which is great. We want to meet that demand. We’re seeing more demand in therapy. More kids, more teens (and) more adults (request) services,” said Andrew Powell, a therapist. at the Children’s Savings Institute.

CSI will receive nearly $300,000 over a two-year period, allowing them to expand their program from 8 therapists to 11.

“We are now able to meet this demand within the Omaha community and also help support our therapists and clinicians,” Powell said.

According to him, support is needed in this area.

“With social services, social services and mental health, we’re seeing a high burnout rate. High turnover and therefore funding will help retain employees, retain clinicians. Which hopefully will create fewer transitions and fewer barriers to receiving effective and adequate mental health services,” Powell says.

He said it will ultimately help more children get the care they need, with less waiting.

Many other organizations will also see ARPA funding for mental health resources. The Nebraska Legislature set aside $40 million from ARPA to fund behavioral health projects.

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