Prestera Center receives the biggest grant in their history

West Virginia

A sheet of $100 bills (Nexstar, file)

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Prestera Center for Mental Health Services announced they are getting a $5 million grant for up to two years to “improve comprehensive community behavioral healthcare.”

Prestera says they are receiving this funding, the largest grant award in their history, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services issued a notice of award on Sept. 22 in response to an application submitted in May 2021, officials say.

Officials from Prestera say they want to use the funds to support and help restore the delivery of clinical services and help all those in need of mental health treatment, including severe emotional and mental problems, mental illness and substance use. The organization’s target areas will be Cabell, Mason, Lincoln, Wayne, Kanawha, Putnam, Boone and Clay counties where COVID-19 has exacerbated “mental illness, stigma, overdose and social determinants of health.”

The grant will allow Prestera to serve an additional 1,750 adults, children and families. Officials say that Prestera will use this funding to plan and implement rural telehealth services and assist with criminal justice crisis referrals.

Prestera says they are creating many new services including follow-up services 24-48 after a crisis or suicide call which will employ outreach workers to provide this service. They say this will decrease mental health stigma and boost awareness. Other planned services include hiring a “Mental Health First Aid” expert to train community members on how to help others during mental health difficulties. They say that their website will be “re-designed and optimized” and will have a 24-hour website chat robot and Triage Workers will be added to work evenings and weekends. Prestera says that clients’ experience will be built for smartphones.

They also say they will use this funding to recover the workforce lost due to COVID-19. Staff recruiters will be added to help restore service capacity to pre-COVID levels, Prestera said. This will include “an inclusive payroll and human resources system across Prestera Center” and that master’s level therapists and licensed practical nurses will be hired.

Prestera says they employ 570 staff members and are going to expend retention efforts by including health and wellness initiatives and stipends.

Officials say that the improvements and activities will be evaluated by an independent, outside contractor that will look at the efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability and customer satisfaction with Prestera’s improvements.

For more information, visit Prestera Center’s website, their Facebook page or call toll-free 877-399-7776.

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