The Blue and You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas announced $5.29 million in grants for behavioral health programs in Arkansas, according to the Times-News. This included a $530,000 grant that went to Arkansas State University.

The grants will support programs that address behavioral health needs at all stages of life. From early childhood through adolescence, and into adulthood, along with helping to increase the number of behavioral health professionals in the state.

“We believe that addressing the behavioral needs of our state requires collaboration with local organizations that have demonstrated success in increasing access, improving outcomes, and reducing stigma,” said Curtis Burnett, president, and CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross.

Those selected for support include licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) programs at three Arkansas universities. One of those is the Department of Social Work in the College of Nursing and Health professions at ASU. The Blue and You Foundation is providing $500,000 to provide Licensed Clinical Social Worker Endowments to expand the behavioral health workforce and train these specialists to practice in primary care settings.

Times-News added that additionally, the foundation also is providing $30,000 to support start-up and administrative costs, which adds to the final grant total of $530,000 to ASU. The Blue and You Foundation selected eight innovative programs to support because addressing the behavioral health crisis requires a collaborative and coordinated approach.