By Dana Kazel
St. Louis County has received nearly $100,000 to work with community partners to develop the Mesabi Behavioral Health Network (MBHN). The grant is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Heath Resources and Services Administration. The MBHN is a collaborative group of community members and providers whose mission is to improve the behavioral health and wellbeing of individuals and families in the northern half of St. Louis County.
St. Louis County has been working with a number of community partners to develop a network with the goal of achieving greater efficiencies in addressing behavioral health needs; expanding access to and improving the quality of basic health care services and associated outcomes; and strengthening rural healthcare systems.
The grant funds will cover expected costs to create a strategic plan for the network, including identifying and detailing ways to address gaps in the behavioral health continuum of care in Northern St. Louis County. The project will also develop a sustainability plan for successful network structure for Northern St. Louis County and resources to support that structure.
Among the community partners involved with the network are: St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services (Behavioral Health, Children and Family Services, and Public Health), Northern Reflection Counseling, Scenic Rivers, Northeast Service Coop, Recovery Alliance Duluth, Ely Behavioral Health Network, Virginia Police Department, Essentia Health, Fairview Hospital, Bois Forte, Lakeview Behavioral Health, Range Mental Health Center, Arrowhead Center, St. Louis County Public Schools, Rock Ridge School District, Families and Community Together, Local Advisory Council (LAC) for Mental Health, United Way, and Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA).
The Northeast Service Cooperative will serve as project manager, and Essentia Health will be the project evaluator.
St. Louis County is one of 20 agencies nationwide to receive a Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant. The total grant amount is $99,781 and is to be used between now and the end of June 2024.