- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Health Care Foundation has announced a new $1.5 million program designed to increase access to mental health care for uninsured residents and those with little to no medical care.

Richmond Times Dispatch reports (https://bit.ly/2qQy8U1 ) Beyond Blue was revealed on Monday as a two-year initiative beginning this summer. It will focus on the number of psychiatric nurse practitioners in Virginia, treating depression in diabetic patients and implementing a trauma-informed care approach.

Ralph Howell, chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees, says depression and anxiety are common among patients. He says three-quarters of Virginia are in a federally designated shortage area for mental health professionals. There are only 213 psychiatric nurse practitioners in the state.

Foundation Executive Director Debbie Oswalt says $1.1 million has been raised so far.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, https://www.timesdispatch.com

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