The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded Ozark Guidance, an affiliate of Arisa Health, a $5,000,000 Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) grant to deliver services over the next two years.

As with many CMHCs across the Nation, the COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges that have hindered the agency’s ability to adequately serve the client population. Ozark Guidance Center’s CMHC project will focus on individuals with serious mental illness (SMI), children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbance (SED); and individuals with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders (COD). Ozark Guidance Center is a nonprofit Community Mental Health Center serving 8 Counties in Northwest Arkansas that operates in over 150 schools in Northwest Arkansas and is governed by a local board of directors.

Through the project, Ozark Guidance will work to better address the behavioral health needs of individuals with SED, SMI, and COD by restoring and enhancing the delivery of clinical services that were impacted by COVID-19 with the following goals:

  1. Expand Ozark Guidance’s capacity to support consumers by hiring additional staff.
  2. Increase access to services.
  3. Build staff capacity through training, education, and technology.

Arisa Health Northwest Region Vice President of Clinical Services Erica Boughfman, PhD said of the grant, “We have seen the impact that the pandemic has had on both the access to and the demand for behavioral health care services. This funding will allow Ozark Guidance to better address the behavioral health care needs of the people in our community and enhance the delivery of clinical services that were impacted by Covid-19.”

Director of Crisis and Forensics Services for the Northwest Region Kristen McAllister, LCSW added, “We are appreciative of the opportunity to enhance the behavioral health care services in our area through expansion of our crisis response services and increasing access to care through hiring of additional staff.”

More information about this SAMSHA program can be found at the following link: