SCAMHC awarded $1M grant

Published 4:22 pm Sunday, October 1, 2023

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South Central Alabama Mental Health Center (SCAMHC) has been awarded grant funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to address mental health disparities in Covington County. The center will receive $1 million each year for the next four years to increase access to mental health care and substance use treatment. 

South Central Alabama Mental Health Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing individuals living with mental health conditions, developmental disabilities, and substance use disorder across Butler, Coffee, Covington, and Crenshaw counties.

Megan Cassell Pine, grant writing and communications coordinator for SCAMHC said there is a substantial need for services in Covington County. Approximately 20% of adults in the county report experiencing frequent mental distress, and about 9,000 individuals in Andalusia struggle with drug addiction. Increasing access to essential mental health care has the potential to bring about a meaningful and positive change for the community and those living in it.  

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As a requirement of this funding, SCAMHC will become a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) joining a federal program that was started in 2014 and expanded in 2020. This program identifies organizations with comprehensive mental health care and provides them with funding to increase access to services. Program clinics must address the following standards to achieve certification: 

  • Staffing plans that focus on local needs; 
  • Providing quick and meaningful access to mental health and substance use services; 
  • Engaging the community through outreach; 
  • Offering 24/7 crisis services; 
  • Accepting all patients, regardless of their ability to pay or where they live; 
  • Coordinating care with other providers; 
  • Quality improvement management; 
  • Inclusion of consumers in decision-making within the organization; and
  • Meeting state accreditation requirements. 

Tommy Wright, MSSW, LICSW, Executive Director of SCAMHC, said, “The CCBHC philosophy of care reinforces many of the current concepts of care of the South-Central Alabama Mental Health Board, such as increasing access to care by serving anyone needing care regardless of ability to pay. It also introduces concepts like 24/7/365 access to crisis care, mobile crisis teams, expanding crisis hotlines, and increasing the use of evidence-based practices and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). We are looking forward to working with SAMHSA and the Alabama Department of Mental Health to implement this philosophy of care locally in our catchment area of Covington, Butler, Coffee, and Crenshaw counties.” 

Center providers takes pride in its longstanding commitment to South Central Alabama. Employees at SCAMHC are driven by a shared commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of individuals and families within our community. SCAMHC provides a diverse range of services designed to address the unique mental health needs of each individual. This funding presents an opportunity to create powerful changes within SCAMHC that will reinforce and strengthen their capacity to serve those individuals. 

Since establishment in 1968, the center has been a cornerstone of care and compassion within the South-Central Alabama community, serving approximately 4,500 individuals annually. For more information, visit