Telemental Health Program Launches

A new pilot program to improve access to mental health services in Virginia for vulnerable patients launches.

Virginia's lagging access to mental health services is getting a boost with the launch of the Virginia Telemental Health Initiative, a pro bono program 
offering counselling services in partnership with the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. “This innovative program addresses a critical need across the Commonwealth, particularly for Virginians whose income levels put vital mental health services out of reach,” said Nelson Smith, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services (DBHDS), a key supporter of the initiative. “VTMHI reflects our underlying commitment toward ensuring the most vulnerable and overlooked populations in Virginia have access to the highest quality care, including in the critical realm of mental health services." 

VTHMI will provide services virtually through a telehealth arrangement to enroll patients at participating free and charitable clinics. The program's launch started with Fauquier Free Clinic this week but will expand to the following five additional VAFCC member clinics in January of 2023: 
  • Bradley Free Clinic (Roanoke) 
  • Brock Hughes Medical Center (Wytheville) 
  • Charlottesville Free Clinic 
  • Free Clinic of Franklin County 
  • Health Brigade (Richmond) 

“Virginia's network of free and charitable clinics provides an important safety net of holistic health care services to many underserved populations across the Commonwealth who lack health insurance or who are underinsured,” said Rufus Phillips, CEO of VAFCC. “As a VTMHI partner, we are pleased to serve as the critical link between patients and providers in this important work to combat the rising need in behavioral health, helping our free and charitable clinics deliver the kind of mental health services that can change people's lives.”

The program will not only benefit patients in need today, but also aims to set up a broader provider base currently lacking in Virginia. Providers in the first phase are pre-licensed volunteers who have completed their graduate level courses and are completing their clinic licensure requirements. Through this process, these volunteers will be earning supervised clinical hours as well as free training. 

For more information about eligibility requirements and how Virginia residents can access mental health services through VTMHI, visit

For more information about VTMHI, visit


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