York-area clinic receives $4 million federal substance abuse and mental health grant

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

Substance abuse and mental health services in York County will get a boost with the award of $4 million in federal funding for WellSpan's Specialized Treatment and Recovery Team (START) program.

START is a certified behavioral health clinic that offers an integrated care experience for patients with urgent mental health and addiction needs, which helps reduce emergency room visits. Since opening in 2021, the program has helped over 1,500 same-day appointments for those would otherwise have to make emergency room visits to get help, according to WellSpan. 

“START is a medical facility, a behavioral health facility and an addiction treatment facility,” stated Dr. Mitchell Crawford, medical director of the START Program and director of Addiction Services for WellSpan Health. “Our team focuses on providing the right care in the right place at the right time to get patients on the road to recovery more quickly.”   

The staff at the WellSpan Philhaven START Clinic in York were all smiles after receiving a $4 million grant to expand services.

The grant was awarded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which is an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

More:What should you do if there's a problem with your 2022 ballot?

More:Three York men sentenced to 10 years in prison for trafficking cocaine

More:Yorktowne Hotel on track for November opening, moves up booking

The grant funds will go toward expanding walk-in hours to the clinic, increase the clinic’s community outreach through support groups and education, provide an onsite program to help stop using tobacco products and provide individual counseling and care for more than 2,000 people over the four years the grant covers. 

According to WellSpan, the funds will also help implement practices to help individuals who are homeless, who were formerly incarcerated, who are LGBTQ+ and for whom Spanish is their primary language.  

Working with Community Action for Recovery and Diversion, the START team will also work to achieve a 20% increase in diversions from the justice system by providing treatment for individuals with mental health and substance abuse disorders rather than place them in the prison system. 

“We are grateful for the grant funds that enable us to support our patients during their journey towards lifelong health and wellness,” said Michele Crosson, START’s director. “Many times, patients have multiple needs, and the care can be complex. This grant will help our diverse team of clinicians and staff surround individuals with increased access to the care and resources they need in an appropriate setting.”