The Texas A&M crew receives a $ 1.6 million grant to broaden psychological well being companies for kids in Brazos Valley

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – A Texas A&M team received a $ 1.6 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to help expand mental health services for children in Brazos Valley.

Psychology experts say Texas lacks mental health resources as the state ranks 49th in the country for mental health spending. It also has the highest percentage of counties reported to have a shortage of mental health professionals, home to over 10 million Texans. This is why it can be difficult to find mental health help in the Brazos Valley, especially for children.

Carly McCord, Professor of Psychiatry and Educational Psychology from Texas, says the scholarship will help ten graduate students at the university over the next four years in hopes of expanding those services in the years to come.

“We have an accredited clinical, counseling, and educational psychology program here at Texas A&M so students from each of these programs can receive a $ 25,000 scholarship for the year,” said McCord.

McCord says the university is working with three different health organizations in the Brazos Valley, where students will work to provide mental health services. They are Texas A&M Family Health Care, Health Point, and Falls Community Hospital and Clinic.

“When you have no one to turn to, it is good to see everything that comes in the door, across both age range and presentation of concerns, to competently judge, treat, and deal with anyone who does and being able to help comes to you in need, ”said McCord.

Marc Klekar is the clinical director of Brazos Valley Mental Health & Wellness. He says children and adolescents are a severely underserved population for local mental health services.

“I can tell you from our practice that we will see a very large influx of children and adolescents up to the Abitur,” said Klekar. “We try to help as many people as possible, but there are only so many hours on the clock that we can let people sit in our chairs.”

According to Klekar, some are stuck on their waiting list for over nine months and the pandemic has made the need for these services even greater here and now.

“We see a lot of social impact when students are isolated when they are not in class with each other,” said Klekar. “The way families interact with one another at home has a huge impact on families. One of the biggest things we come across is the problem of social distance, which many of these students feel disadvantaged about. “

McCord hopes that by the end of the next four years hundreds of families will be supported by their family doctor through the work of these 40 students supported by this scholarship.

“We’re delivering much-needed services here in Brazos Valley and equipping the next generation of health workers to serve in underserved areas,” said McCord. “It’s a really cool combination and a good one-two punch. I’m really excited to see where we’ll be in four years. “

Klekar says this scholarship is an exciting first step, and he believes its impact will be even more meaningful if the students who help it stay in the area for the long term.

“As well as we can reach these children at an early age, I have the feeling that we can have a greater influence earlier,” said Klekar.

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