Project EMPOWER: An Innovative Approach to Community Behavioral Health Service Delivery

Saundra Starks


Project EMPOWER was a grant funded initiative targeted to positively impact a rural community by providing behavioral health services and case management to low- income families. An interdisciplinary service team, comprised of behavior health specialists and graduate level interns in the fields of social work, psychiatric nursing and counseling, worked to provide services under the supervision of a doctorate level clinical social work professor.  Community partnerships were forged to increase opportunities for community members to have accessible affordable services. Using an empowerment model rooted in systems and integrated practice, the services included assessments, referrals, group counseling, individual counseling, child care, and psychoeducational workshops. The service model include three primary stages (intake, intervention, and termination). Behavioral health services were provided by local, contracted, licensed behavior health specialists who specialized in a wide range of behavioral health interventions (e.g., cognitive behavior, mindfulness training, motivational therapy, hypnosis, play therapy).


Behavioral Health Services, Rural Community, Program Delivery

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