The Office of Community Health launches new program addressing mental health needs in underserved communities of Chattanooga.

In response to an urgent need for intensive mental health services in Chattanooga, the Office of Community Health (OCH) is pleased to announce the creation of several mental health clinics aimed at providing vital care to underserved communities in Chattanooga. 

The services are fully-funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health and will be provided at community centers in neighborhoods the Office of Community Health has established as having a disproportionate need.

Chattanooga City Council approved memorandums of understanding to provide mental health care to individuals who are underinsured, uninsured, or cannot afford a copay. The services will be provided in collaboration with several of the City’s key community partners who are already providing critical services in the community. 

“Closing gaps in public health and leading on mental health are priorities of the One Chattanooga plan, and this marks a significant milestone in our work,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. “By partnering with local organizations to make mental health services available, we’re not just treating symptoms, but healing communities. Everyone benefits when people in need are able to get care.”

The memorandums establish official partnerships with the following local organizations:

Appointments can be made using this QR Code or clicking the link:

The 2023 public health survey of Hamilton County identified mental health and substance use as top concerns among residents, revealing the need for more accessible mental health care options in Chattanooga. As of 2022, an estimated 9.8% of Chattanoogans were medically uninsured, equating to almost 18,000 individuals. Without insurance coverage, mental health treatment becomes unaffordable for most individuals, leading to unmet needs and potential worsening of mental health conditions.

“Access to quality mental health care has time and time again proven to be a significant determinant of every other factor to determine one’s quality of life,” said Dr. Geeta Maharaj, interim director of the Office of Community Health. “Closing the gaps between those who can access quality mental health care and those who cannot is how we make even more strides in lowering the big barriers holding people back in underserved communities.”

About Chattanooga’s Department of Community Health & Safety:

During the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Kelly created the Office of Community Health & Safety during his first year in office. The Office of Community Health empowers community health across Chattanooga through outreach and engagement with community members, community partners, and community center staff. 

In the interest of treating gun violence as the public health crisis that it is, Mayor Tim Kelly also created the Office of Community Safety, led by Chris Sands, under the Office of Community Health. The office has been focusing on following through on the goals of the Roadmap to End Gun Violence, the gun violence prevention initiative Mayor Kelly directed after several mass shootings in Chattanooga during the summer of 2022.

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