To qualify for the benefits, psychiatrists, Licensed Independent Social Workers (LISW), Independent Marriage and Family Therapists (IMFT) or other qualified mental health professionals must commit to a minimum of two years of service with an approved mental health provider site in a HPSA-designated area. Designated providers in the three-county region include The Mental Health Clinic Serving Darke and Miami Counties with locations in Greenville and Troy, and the Shelby County Counseling Center in Sidney.
Based on the ratio of psychiatrists to population, among other factors, the Miami, Darke and Shelby County area, collectively evaluated as Catchment Area 64 under the purview of the Tri-County Board, has since 2005 been deemed underserved by mental health professionals. The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program is a recruitment and retention tool designed to attract and retain mental health clinicians with particular interest in underserved populations.
“The HPSA designation as an underserved region for mental health clinicians really underscores the fact that our region needs more practicing mental health professionals,” Long said. “The incentives available under the Loan Repayment Program are significant, and should be very attractive to clinicians wanting to establish careers in our region.”