KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Mental Health Association of East Tennessee was awarded a large grant from the Trinity Foundation in hopes to make mental health care more accessible to the community.

The agency was one of several chosen for wanting to address issues like physical and behavioral healthy life choices, neighborhood/community strengthening and spiritual health.

The goal is to make sure money isn’t a barrier

The Mental Health Association is using the grant funds for a treatment access bank. The program will make access to mental health care affordable for those in need.

The program matches individuals with practitioners who have open schedule capacity for short-term care. The grant will allow the association to pay those providers for up to 10 sessions per client.

“If someone’s got the barrier, they can’t afford care, but boy, they’re willing to go, you know, well, let’s get rid of that barrier. That gets them in the door to see a therapist and then they can get a lot of help,” said Ben Harrington with MHA. “Our long-term goals here are we get some folks in the program, they’re getting the help that they need, then we’re able to leverage additional funding from some sources to grow and sustain that program.”

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The program will serve up to 16 people during the pilot study project period to determine the feasibility of opening a full-scale program. If successful, MHA says the treatment access bank could be modeled to roll out into the local nine-county Trinity service area.

For those interested in finding out more about the treatment access bank, call 865-584-9125.