Virginia Beach Councilman proposes grant for mental health worker recruitment

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach City Councilman Michael Berlucchi

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Councilman Michael Berlucchi is proposing a $200,000 grant to the Hampton Roads Workforce Council to address recruitment and retention of mental health care providers in the City of Virginia Beach.

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Berlucchi believes action must be taken on the mental health crisis in Virginia and the impact it has had in Virginia Beach throughout the pandemic, according to a news release. He believes this program will improve access and delivery services to residents of Virginia Beach who experience mental illness.

Prior to becoming a City Council member, Berlucchi served on the Human Rights Commission where he advocated for improved funding and reforming Virginia’s insufficient mental health services.

With the rise of cases of mental health issues and substance use in the City of Virginia Beach, the utilization of mental health services and beds has reached crisis levels. Throughout the pandemic, mental health professional vacancies have increased within both public and private sectors.

The City of Virginia Beach would partner with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council to create a program where non-profit and private mental health providers will have access to funds in order to support the recruitment and retention efforts of staff within Virginia Beach.

City Council will consider the ordinance at their October 6 formal meeting.

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