Aug 16, 2010 12:42 PM by Melissa Canone
HOUSTON - BP today announced that it is providing $52 million to federal and state health organizations to fund behavioral health support and outreach programs across the US Gulf Coast region.
The funding will help residents link up with support that is available through providers in their communities, through a variety of local outreach programs and a special toll free phone line where people can turn for information on available services.
"We appreciate that there is a great deal of stress and anxiety across the region and as part of our determination to make things right for the people of the region, we are providing this assistance now to help make sure individuals who need help know where to turn," said Lamar McKay, President of BP America and incoming leader of the Gulf Coast Restoration Organization.
Specifically, BP is providing funding to five agencies, one at the federal level and one in each of the affected states.
- SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - $10m
- Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals - $15m
- Mississippi Department of Mental Health -- $12m
- Alabama Department of Mental Health - $12m
- Florida Department of Children and Families - $3m
In recent weeks BP officials have held meetings with and gathered input from federal and state officials, behavioral health organizations and experts, and community groups and leaders to assess the needs of Gulf Coast residents.
QUOTES FROM STATE AGENCY OFFICIALS
"The Department shared its concerns with BP over the emotional and psychological toll this ongoing event is having on individuals living and working on our coastline," said Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon. "This funding is a start toward helping Floridians who are beginning to feel the stress associated with this disaster. We will assess future needs and make requests for necessary funding from BP as necessary."
"We are pleased to accept on behalf of our citizens this initial contribution to establish a partnership between BP and Mississippi to facilitate long-term recovery on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said Ed LeGrand, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. "Many of the individuals affected do not typically take the initiative to seek mental health services. It is vital for us to take a proactive approach. This funding will invest in individuals' mental health through early intervention which may impact long-term physical and mental health needs."
For further information:
BP Gulf of Mexico response: www.bp.com/gulfofmexico
BP Press Office London +44 20 7496 4076
BP Press office, US: +1 281 366 0265