After being pinpointed for federal funding by Rep. Josh Harder and the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year, one Turlock nonprofit will soon be able to provide even more mental health services thanks to additional grant revenue announced by the Congressman’s office this week.
In May, Harder named First Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center in Turlock as one of 10 community projects the Congressman submitted to the Appropriations Committee for funding consideration. Harder requested about $300,000 so that the nonprofit organization could hire a Spanish-speaking behavioral health clinician and a Spanish-speaking administrative employee, as well as create a mental health publicity campaign to help raise awareness in underserved communities.
The Appropriations Committee approved the funding for First Behavioral Health in July, and an “all-of-the-above” approach from Harder helped him identify additional money for the organization. His office announced on Monday that the nonprofit will be receiving a Community Mental Health Center grant of $1,020,600 — federal funding awarded after the organization received aid from Harder’s office.
The additional funding will provide for the hiring of five full-time clinicians, one full-time office administrator, one part-time clinical supervisor, one compliance officer, one on-call clinician, one part-time nurse practitioner, and office technology, supplies and staff training. It will also allow for the hiring of one full-time and one part-time promatora, mental health clinicians who are placed in schools with a focus on helping Latino students.
First Behavioral Health will also be able to spend the funds on contracts for marketing and educational campaigns to help end the mental health stigma.
“I’ve been working hard to bring new mental health professionals to First Behavioral in Turlock and today we hit a grand slam,” Harder said. “These 12 new folks — five full-time clinicians plus promotoras, supervisors and office staff — will do a world of good for our families. We desperately need more health care access in the Valley and this million-dollar grant is a huge win.”
First Behavioral Health is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that uses charitable dollars to knock down mental health barriers in the community, providing on-site school counseling, psychiatry and medication services, telehealth visits and bilingual services for those who may otherwise go without help.
The organization was originally included in Harder’s list of community projects after he stated that expanding access to affordable mental and physical health care was among his top funding priorities. The request was just one of the perks of his seat on the Appropriations Committee, to which he was appointed in December 2020 and is the first Central Valley Democrat to do so in nearly 50 years.