Arisa Health, a leading behavioral health provider, is expanding services during a time when behavioral health care is more crucial than ever. Social distancing requirements have led to limits in services provided by behavioral health workers, even though research that shows disasters often lead to increases in anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress. This grant, awarded by the Walton Family Foundation for up to $300,000.00, will ensure Qualified Behavioral Health Providers (QBHPs) or behavioral health paraprofessionals continue providing service to at least 2,000 clients each week in Northwest Arkansas, the broader Arkansas Delta, and Central Arkansas. Specifically, this grant will provide services to group session clients whose participation was impacted by disruptions mandated by social distancing guidelines.

Out of an abundance of caution, Arisa Health temporarily suspended group services during the initial phase of the pandemic. QBHPs provide services to children, youth, and adults in various settings such as schools, rehabilitation day services, and partial day programs. Programming in these settings relies on groups where clients and staff are in close contact. The grant will allow for continued client care while the organization works to restructure and reopen our group programming with adaptations to address the pandemic and its effects on health care delivery.

Arisa employs 1,100 individuals and provides administrative, paraprofessional, licensed mental health and certified substance abuse staff, peer specialists, physicians/prescribers, and nursing staff to its four affiliate Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs).  All the affiliates of Arisa Health are certified by the Arkansas Department of Human Services’ Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health Services (DAABHS), and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

Arisa provides behavioral health services via licensed professionals like counselors, social workers, and psychologists. Arisa also employs non-licensed paraprofessionals to provide services to clients. As paraprofessional staff, QBHPs are an integral part of Arisa’s behavioral health services continuum.  Many QBHP staff hold an undergraduate degree, have 40 hours of curriculum-driven training, and pass a competency test. Under the supervision of a Mental Health Professional, QBHPs work to establish supportive client relationships with the goal of empowering clients and their support network to actively participate in treatment. QBHPs play an essential role in the provision of Comprehensive Community Support Services.

We are excited for this opportunity to lead with exceptional care that nurtures health and well-being for all in the areas of Arkansas we proudly serve.