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CHEER offers mental health safety net
CHEER Mental Health.jpg
CHEER Mental Health at 120 Omni Drive offers a safety net program for people needing mental health services who are uninsured and meet qualifications.

CHEER Mental Health offers a safety net program which can cover the costs of evaluations and assessments during first-time appointments, medication management, therapy, care management and more.

The Tennessee Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services states if you are 18 or older, have a serious mental illness, and have no behavioral health insurance, you may qualify for the Behavioral Health Safety Net of TN program.  

Services provided include assessment, evaluation, diagnostic, therapeutic intervention, case management, transportation, pharmacy assistance and more.

“If you’re in need of mental health services, we are fortunate to be a Behavioral Health Safety Net provider in the community,” said Bryan Herriman, center director of CHEER Mental Health.

Safety Net is an income-based program and provides assessments and evaluations during first-time appointments, medication management, therapy and care management.

Warren County has 21.6% of its citizens under the poverty level, 15% with a disability under 65 years old and 14.8% with no insurance, according to census.gov.

The individual salary cut-off is $17, 236 per year. A single person can be working and still qualify for Safety Net if his or her salary is at or below that level. 

For a husband and wife, the insurance covers an income level of up to $23, 336 and for a family of three, the level is $29,400.

In order to qualify to receive the insurance, proof of residency, a prior mental health diagnosis and being 18 years or older are required. Herriman states the age limit last year was lowered from 19 to 18 to allow more people to be part of the program. 

“Unfortunately, TennCare for some folks ended so there was a gap,” said Herriman. “We were glad to have that extra year added. Individuals who are 18 were sometimes left out of the TennCare service so this is a big deal in order to help those people.”

Proof of citizenship and being a resident of Tennessee is able to be shown by bringing a piece of mail with the name and address of the individual seeking treatment.

The care management portion of the Safety Net program is a valuable resource for individuals in need of an assigned care manager whose job is to remove any kind of barriers to recovery for each individual, whether that barrier is transportation, food, housing or any other need which might prevent the recovery process while being with the program.

At the McMinnville CHEER Mental Health office, Herriman says there are approximately 250 people from several different counties who partake in the Safety Net program. The staff sees a full range of mental health issues, such as depression, generalized anxiety disorders, bipolar and others.

“A lot of times there are people who don’t seek services because they don’t have insurance,” said Herriman. “There are some pretty serious diagnoses out there that people don’t receive treatment for so it’s important to let people know there is help out there now.”

A pharmacy is on site, as well as a nurse practitioner who is supervised by a psychiatrist. The nurse practitioner works full-time five days a week. Therapists are also available.

Another benefit of Safety Net is the ability to receive CoverRx, which helps with the costs of prescription medications. Although CoverRx doesn’t pay the cost in full, it does make the medications more affordable.

CHEER Mental Health can be reached online at www.vbhcs.org/locations/mcminnville/ or by calling 473-9649.