Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare awarded $4.7 million to expand Mental Health Services and open new location in Callahan

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Yulee, Fla: Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare announced it was awarded $4.7 million in funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration CMHC Grant Program. The purpose of this program is to enable community mental health centers to support and restore delivery of clinical services that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and effectively address the needs of individuals with serious emotional disturbance (SED), serious mental illness (SMI), and individuals with SMI or SED and substance use disorders, referred to as co-occurring disorder (COD).

This round of funding will primarily be used to expand and enhance community mental health services in Nassau County, Florida. Over the next two years, Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare will expand its physical office space in Yulee, Hilliard, and Fernandina Beach; open a new office location in Callahan, FL; and provide over 25 new jobs to the residents of Nassau County, all while expanding its behavioral health service offerings to the residents of Northeast Florida.

“This grant award will transform Starting Point and Nassau County,” said Laureen Pagel, CEO at Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare. “COVID has impacted the mental health of our family, our friends, our co-workers, and our community. Our healthcare workers have been on the frontlines the past 18 months and are exhausted physically and mentally. This funding will assist us in reaching those most impacted by COVID-19, including our workforce, and then help us to elevate their wellness. We can’t wait to get started on this expansion.”

– Laureen Pagel, CEO, Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare

To monitor effectiveness and offer project sustainability planning, a full program evaluation will be led by Health-Tech Consultants, an independent consulting firm that touts over 40 years of experience providing evaluation, research, training, and technical support. The program evaluation will benchmark the nonprofit organization’s successful completion of project goals like:

  1. Expanding capacity, increasing access and engagement with trauma and culturally informed service models that incorporate a full continuum of services; to include psychiatric, counseling, peer support, case management, and psychosocial rehabilitation.
  2. Developing education and outreach strategies to increase capacity to identify individuals with SED, SMI, and COD to provide early intervention, engagement, and coordination of care.
  3. Establishing a positive recovery community in Nassau County.

To stay up to date on this project and its implementation, please visit

About Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare

Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare provides mental health and substance abuse treatment services to children, teens and adults in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. The non-profit agency serves more than 3,000 individuals each year and has been serving the region for more than 29 years. Starting Point is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). For more information, please visit


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