SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Intermountain Healthcare and community partners throughout Utah are collaborating to address the Mental Health Crisis in our state by making a 67-million-dollar donation.

Lisa Nichols helps lead Community Health at Intermountain Healthcare she said, “The data along with the personal stories tell us that mental health conditions, as well as access to mental health care, are really significant concerns in our community. We want to provide great healthcare as a system and collaborate with our communities to ensure that we are preventing mental health concerns.”

This has been a concern in Utah for quite some time, but it is even more of a concern due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Data shows Utah needs to increase mental health resources. The state ranks last for mental health access in the country according to a 2019 Gardner Institute Policy Report. When you add to that the pandemic and the total impacts are still not fully known.

Nichols added, “Intermountain Healthcare wants to make sure there is a safe access point to anyone in our community, no matter where they live what their lifestyle is or what their needs are.”

To address the needs, Intermountain Healthcare has given generously to several community partners including Latino Behavior Health Services and the Utah Pride Center. Michelle Anklin from the Utah Pride Center explained the great need for the people they serve, “Utah suicide rate, in general, is higher than the national average by 34 percent. Then rates are 3 to 4 times for the Lesbian and Gay community and 8-10 times higher for the Trans individuals.”

Like many other organizations, the Utah Pride Center moved all its programs online last year. This change allowed them to provide mental health services to Utahns throughout the state, but therapy is still inaccessible to many due to financial barriers. 

The Intermountain Healthcare donation changed that Anklin explained, “That money only goes exclusively to one-one-one individual clients, we have been able to serve 300 hours in the first quarter of the year to queer people who didn’t have access otherwise.” Latino Behavioral Health Service has been working to address mental health disparities among the Hispanic and Latinx communities in Utah. Unfortunately, the barriers to mental health care are difficult to overcome for this community. Javier Alegre leads the group. He explained, “We partner, we collaborate with other organizations to make ourselves available to our clients and the LatinX community.”

TeleHealth has been a great addition to Latino Behavioral Health Services. This is where they have used the donation from Intermountain Healthcare.  Now they can reach the entire state Alegre said, “It takes a village, right. We always hear that it takes a village, and this is no exception. It takes a village to make sure our community gets the services they need, and they are aware that they exist.”

Intermountain Healthcare continues to strive to not just treat patients but help the community of Utah and the state’s well-being.

For more information about Intermountain Healthcare, you can visit their website.

This article contains sponsored content.