SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Congressman Richard Neal announced federal funding for Mental Health Association, Inc. (MHA) in Springfield.

A total of $513,000 is designated through Congressionally Direct Spending from the Department of Education to support MHA’s BestLife Center for Emotional Health and Wellness. According to a news release from Congressman Richard Neal’s office, the plan for funding include the following:

• Permitting the technological preparation and office-outfitting for a larger, more accessible new facility.
• Expanding more immediate access to mental health services.
• Hiring new clinical staff and developing a larger patient capacity.
• Procuring additional equipment to enhance access to telehealth and reduce lengthy client waitlists.
• Improving the electronic health record platforms.

“For far too long, Americans have shied away from conversations about mental health, contributing to the stigma around mental illness, and consequently deterring patients from seeking care. Thanks to organizations such as MHA, these conversations have been brought to the forefront of our nation’s healthcare system,” said Congressman Neal. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed a staggering increase in reporting relative to symptoms of anxiety or depression. Thankfully, western and central Massachusetts is fortunate to have regional providers who are committed to providing critical services to residents. The funding for MHA’s BestLife Center for Emotional Health and Wellness will ensure they have the resources needed to continue serving our communities.”

MHA President & CEO Cheryl Fasano stated, “The Mental Health Association is deeply humbled for the incredibly generous support of the Expanding Access to Mental Health Services community project. Congressman Neal demonstrates, time and time again, his commitment to making the Pioneer Valley community thrive. This funding will support the BestLife Center for Emotional Health and Wellness, a licensed outpatient behavioral health clinic that is an integral part of our operations, as well as allowing MHA to increase the capacity of our clinical operations while expanding services to address the critical need for mental health services. MHA serves some of the most vulnerable members of our local community. Receiving this support means we can serve more people, more efficiently, during their greatest times of need.”