KY mental health agencies collaborate to create one large community health center

Four area agencies will be collaborating to form one of the largest community mental health centers in the Commonwealth.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:07 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The National Alliance of Mental Illness found that 746,000 adults in Kentucky have a mental health condition. That’s more than 10 times the population of Bowling Green.

However, four area mental health agencies are teaming up to lend a hand.

LifeSkills Inc. in Bowling Green, Communicare Inc. in Elizabethtown, Four Rivers Behavioral Health in Paducah, and Pennyroyal Center in Hopkinsville will be collaborating to form one of the largest community mental health centers in the Commonwealth.

“We will have a single parent organization and each of the historic community mental health centers will be component parts of that,” said LifeSkills CEO Joe Dan Beavers. “In terms of the day-to-day structure for folks in the community, hopefully, you won’t see any changes. If anything, hopefully, access to some additional services.”

Once done, the new entity will be able to serve over 47,000 individuals and families annually, as well as employing 1,700 people in 35 Kentucky counties.

“This consolidation will help solve some of the problems for us. There will be no job loss in the work that we do,” Beavers said. “We actually have to grow some of the programs and create new positions across all the regions we support.”

The new entity will offer over 70 programs and services in 129 locations across the Commonwealth.

“Having that ability, the size and scale to support those rural communities are really important because we know that sometimes it’s tough for folks to access services,” Beavers said.

While discussing the merger, Beavers talked about the stigma surrounding mental health in rural areas and the importance of taking care of yourself.

“Whether it’s your spouse, your loved ones, your children, we just want folks to know that there’s help available, that you don’t have to suffer alone,” Beavers said.

A name for the new organization has not been announced yet, but agencies are expecting the consolidation to be complete by July 1 of this year.