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Grant to Help Patients with Mental Illness in Four Area Counties

Published in Media Releases Author: CentraCare

St. Cloud, Minn. – CentraCare Health and the Central Minnesota Mental Health Center (CMMHC) have received a grant from The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration (PBHI) grant will improve the physical health of adults with serious mental illnesses and those with co-occurring substance use disorders who are at high risk for chronic conditions and diseases.

The $1.6 million grant, spanning four years, will place a primary care provider in the St. Cloud location of the Central Minnesota Mental Health Center providing 2,000 individuals from Stearns, Benton, Sherburne and Wright counties with holistic behavioral health and primary care services.

According to SAMHSA, several risk factors contribute to the preventable medical conditions:

  • Poverty, social isolation and trauma – People with behavioral health problems often live in poverty and experience social isolation and trauma, which can lead to higher levels of stress or reduce access to quality primary care services that can help prevent and manage these deadly conditions.
  • Tobacco – 75 percent of individuals with behavioral health problems smoke cigarettes as compared to 23 percent of the general population.
  • Obesity – Obesity is frequently accompanied by depression and the two can trigger and influence each other.
  • Medication side effects – Weight gain from medication treatment of schizophrenia and affective disorders is a well established side effect of antipsychotics.
  • Other substance use—alcohol and drugs – Heavy and binge drinking is associated with numerous health problems, including: damage to liver cells, inflammation of the pancreas, various cancers, high blood pressure, and psychological disorders.
  • Lack of access to quality health care – People with behavioral health problems lack health insurance coverage at far higher rates than the general population.

For more information, please call CMMHC at 320-292-9228; or call St. Cloud Hospital Behavioral Health at 320-229-4977.