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UTEP working to expand mental health resources across west Texas

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The pandemic may have brought on a lot of issues but it also helped communities understand what they may be lacking, especially mental health resources. It's something a new project lead by the University of Texas at El Paso is hoping to address.

Thanks to a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, UTEP is partnering with Sul Ross State University, and Presidio County Health Services to train and students and provide mental health care to residents several west Texas counties: Presidio, Brewster, Culberson, Hudspeth and Jeff Davis.

Dr. Thenral Mangadu, associate vice president of interdisciplinary research at UTEP, said another goal is to make sure these resources culturally competent.

"We hope and we expect locally, culturally sensitive, regionally relevant behavioral health workforce that can be retained," she said.

She said a big issue for many of these counties is that there aren't enough health care providers. She hopes this project will help us expand that workforce.

About 29 students between both universities will train in different health care settings, almost like interns to help expand the workforce in these counties, adding that the emphasis of this project is the collaboration that spans several counties.

"This is a first time collaboration between two minority serving institutions and regional partners clinical partners, to build local workforce capacity," she said. "We hope that this will serve as a nationally scalable model for other rural counties, medically underserved counties nationwide, especially minority and binational counties."

The project is currently in its first stage. It will continue for the next four years.

To learn more, click here.

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.


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