Volunteers in Medicine Announces Expansion of Mental Health Services

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

May is Mental Health Awareness Month; Uninsured Americans Among Those Hit the Hardest by Mental Health Illnesses

JACKSONVILLE, FL – In the wake of the pandemic, several other health crises are emerging. Near the top of the list is untreated mental health illness and the unmet need for mental health services. Through a recent multi-year grant from The Jim Moran Foundation, Volunteers in Medicine plans to expand its mental health services for the working uninsured.

In a 2020 survey of 1,500 adults in full-time jobs, conducted by nonprofit Mind Share Partners, “seventy-six percent of respondents reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the past year, up from 59% in 2019.” Conversely, data collected in 2020 by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services showed a “22% decline in the number of mental health services utilized by adults aged 19 to 64.”

Just as it was prior to the pandemic, the people impacted the most have been those working low-paying jobs without access to affordable health insurance. Many are the “essential workers” who were on the front lines of the pandemic. In order to support themselves and their families, they must find a place where they can get the help they need. Volunteers in Medicine is one of those places.

A 2021 article in Family Practice Management (FPM) Journal stated that, “Fully integrating behavioral health in primary care is the gold standard for care.” Volunteers in Medicine embraces this standard, having primary care physicians and mental health providers available to the low-income, working uninsured under the same roof. They consider physical health and mental health to be intertwined.

Two years ago, with funding from The Partnership: For Mental Health, an innovative project of The Delores Barr Weaver Fund at The Community Foundation and Baptist Health, Volunteers in Medicine partnered with local nonprofit Family Foundations to have one of their mental health counselors see patients on site. “We greatly appreciate our partnership with Volunteers in Medicine,” said Family Foundations CEO William Haley, “helping to advance the mental and emotional well-being of the working uninsured; the focus on comprehensive, compassionate care is inspiring.” 

In April of this year, The Jim Moran Foundation awarded a grant to support the partnership for an additional two years. This new funding has meant that Volunteers in Medicine will be able to expand their mental health services from two days to six days a week. 

“Considering the ongoing impact of the pandemic, it is even more important for us to help Volunteers in Medicine reach out and provide mental health services to those who would otherwise not have access to improve their overall quality of life,” said Jan Moran, chairman and president of The Jim Moran Foundation.

There are several agencies like Volunteers in Medicine that make mental health services available to those who are uninsured and unable to pay. If you need help, call or email to learn more about their services.
 
About Volunteers in Medicine: Founded in 2003 by Dottie Dorion and Dr. James Burt, Volunteers in Medicine is a non-profit organization that serves the working uninsured.  It is a full-service medical clinic, with two locations: Downtown at 41 E. Duval Street, open Monday through Friday 9am-5pm and 9am-12pm on Saturdays, and WestJax, located at 5927 Old Timuquana Road on the campus of Inspire to Rise, a community center located in 32210 and open on Monday 11am-6pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10am-3pm and Saturdays from 9am-12pm.

For over 18 years, the clinic has been funded by grants and private donations, receiving no federal funding.  With more than 230 active healthcare volunteers, we are able to provide $3 worth of care for every $1 given.  For more information, please visit www.vimjax.org or call 904-399-2766.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Ryan
Volunteers in Medicine
904.399.2766 x 123                      
jryan@vimjax.org