Editor’s Note: This story was updated to reflect the correct dollar amount.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Union Hospital’s Family Medicine Residency Program received a $2.25 million grant to help improve physician training in mental and behavioral health.

The grant will enable the residency program to enhance its curriculum to train physicians in the prevention, identification, diagnosis, treatment, and referral of services for mental and behavioral health conditions for pediatric adolescents, young adults, and other populations who are at-risk or have experienced abuse, trauma, or mental health and/or substance use disorders.

Doctor Amber Cadick, Behavioral Science Faculty Member for the Residency Program, says there is an increasing need for such services in our community.

“We (Vigo County) are number one in the state in child poverty, and we have a high trauma rate,” Cadick said.

This grant will allow the physicians to be better prepared to bridge the gaps, so they are a part of the solution.

The initiative will collaborate with many community organizations including clinical, social services, educational, and judicial partners. The residency hopes to retain doctors to serve in the Wabash Valley.

“We don’t realize a lot of times our area is medically underserved,” Cradick said. “If you think about it a lot of people have to drive to Indianapolis to get the specialty care they need and we’re hoping to reverse that and create really competent, strong doctors who are compassionate that stick around the Wabash Valley,” she added.

Dr. Cradick said that mental health in adolescents is a hidden issue that people are not really talking about enough. She said it’s impacting education, physical fitness, health, and interpersonal skills.

Sullivan Middle School’s Counselor, Krista Wells said, “When we are talking about mental health and education, they aren’t separate because I really think that from my end of it, I really see how mental health impacts their (students’) academics, their discipline. It impacts how they feel about school overall. So, I love this program that Doctors are going to be able to help identify those struggling.”

Cradick and Wells both spoke about the length of time it takes for referrals to treatment facilities as well as for psychiatric evaluations. They said it can take as long as 6-12 months.