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Home Indiana News Bowen Center Receives $3.9M Grant

Bowen Center Receives $3.9M Grant

Pictured (L to R) are Dr. Robert Ryan, Mary Gerard and Shannon Hannon. Photos provided.

Bowen Center received a $3.9 million grant to increase mental healthcare, case management and addiction recovery treatment.

The grant will help augment Bowen Center’s HIPAA compliant telehealth capabilities, recruit mental healthcare professionals and provide additional training and support for staff on behavioral health disparities including cultural and linguistic competence to further assist diverse patient populations, according to a news release from Bowen Center. The grant will also facilitate expanded health care service outreach, which may include a mobile clinic initiative, to rural and vulnerable groups including Amish, Burmese and elderly populations and individuals living in economically disadvantaged communities. Finally, the grant will help expand resources to further address the mental health needs of Bowen Center staff which may have arisen as a result of the pandemic.

“We were thrilled when we got word of the award which will allow us to more thoroughly reach underserved populations in our communities,” said Shannon Hannon, Bowen Center vice president of healthcare integration. “There is an urgent need now more than any other time to ensure emotional healthcare is accessible to all and this grant will allow us to focus on some of the most vulnerable among us,” said Hannon.

“We know vulnerable populations and minorities are overrepresented in the statistics looking at mental illness,” said Dr. Robert Ryan, Bowen Center senior vice president of operations. “Research suggests this is due to poverty, lack of resources and mistrust of institutions. We wanted to find dollars that allowed us to address these disparities with dignity. Bowen Center’s position has been to connect with these communities and share our resources and knowledge to help communities solve their own problems. These hard working and vibrant communities don’t need a handout they just need the resources to help themselves. This grant will allow that to happen.”

The Center was one of 231 community mental health centers across the United States to receive grant funding as a part of the commitment made by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to invest $825 million in Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) to support and expand access to mental health and behavioral support for Americans as they continue to confront the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. CMHCs are community-based facilities or groups of facilities that provide prevention, treatment and rehabilitation mental health services. The grant program will enable CMHCs like Bowen Center to more effectively address the needs of individuals who have a serious emotional disturbance (SED) or serious mental illness (SMI), as well as individuals with SED or SMI and substance use disorders, referred to as a co-occurring disorder (COD), the release states.

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from August 2020 through February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%, and the percentage of those reporting an unmet mental health care need increased from 9.2% to 11.7%.

Mary Gerard, Bowen Center vice president of human resources, notes that part of the grant will help the Center attract mental healthcare professionals.

“Finding providers that come from the communities, who understand the culture, speak the language and grasp exactly how the healthcare delivery should look and feel is critical. It requires some out-of-the-box thinking to really focus on how we can best meet people where they are,” Gerard said. She went on to note that the grant dollars will provide the means for Bowen Center to seek out quality providers, recruit, onboard and train them. In addition, “We will be looking for unique ways to reach people who have transportation issues including a simplified video interface and remote patient access.”

Providing greater access to emotional healthcare for patients and broader supports for staff will help address the extraordinary affects the pandemic will have for years to come medically, emotionally, socially and economically, the release states.

“It’s clear COVID has taken its toll on all of us,” said Ryan. “Improving access to emotional healthcare and substance use treatment for as many Hoosiers possible, especially those with limited access, will improve outcomes and help people live their best lives. We could not be more ready and able to meet the need.”

Bowen Center started as a nonprofit community mental health Center in northern Indiana in 1961. The Center now serves Indiana treating patients in-person, by phone or video conference with emotional health care, along with addiction recovery treatment and primary health care clinics located in Warsaw and Fort Wayne. The Center accepts many insurance plans including Medicaid and uses a sliding fee discount scale for patients that pay privately. For more information visit BowenCenter.org.