Senator Jerry Moran visited Pawnee Mental Health Services on Friday to present a $832,505 grant for telemedicine services.

The grant is being provide by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) as part of their Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants program.  Moran says there is a challenge to provide mental health services throughout the state.  This is due to not only a lack of professionals, but also the distance for more rural areas.

“But distance can be overcome, and the one of the ways it can is through technology,” says Moran.

This DLT grant will allow Pawnee to expand their telehealth provisions and take care of clients wherever they live.  In addition, the grant will be used to create partnerships with the Clay and Republic County Health Departments to provide expanded services and enhanced hours of operation.

This is the second DLT grant provided to Pawnee, with the first coming in last year at $400,000.  That grant was used to expand video conferencing services to Jewell, Mitchell and Washington counties.

Pawnee Mental Health Executive Director Robbin Cole (left) and Senator Jerry Moran

Pawnee Mental Health Executive Director Robbin Cole (left) and Senator Jerry Moran

Moran says one of the items that struck him while speaking with Pawnee Executive Director Robbin Cole was that professionals can now live in smaller communities and help those outside of their area.

“In today’s world where COVID and the depression that comes with that, but you add to that veteran, student, and farmer suicide.  The more we can get mental health services to more people in a timely way with technology, the safer and better off we all are,” says Moran.

Moran says this while this grant isn’t specifically a response to COVID, its importance is brought out all the more because of the pandemic.

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