MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar) – The Permian Strategic Partnership and the FMH Foundation have teamed up with the West Texas Counseling and Guidance Center to provide over $3 million dollars to expand mental health services in the Permian Basin.

CEO and President of PSP, Tracee Bentley told us that the Basin is in need of mental health services, now more than ever.

“With the fallout from COVID-19 along with job loss in our area, immediate access has been incredibly critical at this time,” said Bentley

By creating this initiative, the goal is to “accelerate recruiting efforts and enhance the development of behavioral health professionals in regions experiencing a shortage of providers.” according to a press release by PSP.

“So this is very much an initiative that’s meant to provide needed services in rural West Texas and southeast New Mexico cause we know that those are the places that have the least amount of access,” says CEO and President of PSP, Tracee Bentley.

According to a press release from the Permian Strategic Partnership, the suicide rate is over 50% higher than the national average in some areas of the Basin.

Getting people to know that this initiative exists and is free of charge…has been the biggest challenge for PSP thus far.

“We’re working with community members and community leaders to help educate them on what the program is and help us get it out by word of mouth,” says Bentley.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, learn more information and schedule an appointment here.