Grant Provides Funding for Increased Mental Health Services in Sarasota, Manatee Counties

The Giving Coast

Samaritan Counseling Services of the Gulf Coast, Inc. was awarded a $400,000 grant by Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation to support five new mental health counseling interns. The interns will complete a two-year supervision and training program with Samaritan Counseling to become fully licensed clinicians in the State of Florida. The objective of the effort is to attract and retain highly qualified future mental health counselors to meet growing need in the region. During this program, interns will serve children and adults regardless of their ability to pay. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Sarasota and Manatee Counties have been designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas. With an average of one mental health provider per 500 people in Sarasota County and one per 820 people in Manatee County, the current mental health system lacks the capacity to meet a rapidly increasing demand for services and provide timely
access. Samaritan Counseling Services of the Gulf Coast seeks to remain an integral part of the communities it serves by building its capacity for a long-term role in mental health counseling. “At any point in time, about 175,000 people in Sarasota and Manatee counties suffer from a mental health concern,” said Rick Howell, Executive Director, Samaritan Counseling. “Although we’ll provide 17,000 counseling sessions this year, we can and need to do more. Because of this generous investment from Barancik Foundation, Samaritan Counseling can continue to instill hope and transform lives.” To learn more about Samaritan Counseling, visit www.samaritangulfcoast.com or call 941-926-2959.

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