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BCBS of Kansas Foundation grants $25,000 to support telehealth

September 2020 · Ministry News

A $25,000 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation will support access to critical behavioral health services for Kansas residents through the expansion of telehealth services.

The Saint Francis Ministries’ Outpatient Behavioral Health department will use the funding to support its telehealth services, which have been important in reaching clients during the pandemic when social distancing measures were needed. Telehealth means therapy sessions and other behavioral health services are offered virtually.

Telehealth makes mental health care more accessible in rural areas and anywhere there are not enough therapists and counselors, said Darrin Sewell, executive director of Outpatient Behavioral Health.

“We are grateful for this grant and support from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation,” he said. “The pandemic highlighted the need for telehealth services in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and Saint Francis Ministries accelerated the expansion of our telehealth services to meet those needs. It was particularly important as social isolation can have significant negative impacts on mental health and child maltreatment.”

Many of Saint Francis Ministries’ outpatient behavioral health clients must attend substance use disorder treatment, group or individual therapy or counseling, parenting skills training, or emotion management before a child can safely return home. Children and youth who have experienced trauma or have mental health issues rely on outpatient behavioral health services to receive care.

This grant will support uninsured clients and also will support training for Saint Francis professionals.

“We appreciate this grant and its ability to help us close mental health service gaps in Kansas,” said Fr. Robert N. Smith, dean, president and CEO. “As an organization serving vulnerable and at-risk populations, we know the difference it can make to individuals and families to be able to access needed care. It’s difficult for many people to access the behavioral health services they need even when a pandemic is not affecting services. We want to do everything we can to support Kansas communities.”

Anyone interested in accessing behavioral health care services from Saint Francis Ministries can call 833.637.0244 or email