Southside Behavioral Health Awarded Funds to Support Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Initiatives

BRUNSWICK, MECKLENBURG, & HALIFAX, VIRGINIA – Southside Behavioral Health (SBH) has been awarded an ARPA Block Grant to support organizational planning, training, and development related to diversity, equity, social justice, community engagement, and support. These funds will be used to address workforce development initiatives and training for staff.

“We hope to use these funds to provide training to our current staff on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion and develop a culturally aware and inclusive culture in our workplace,” said Executive Director Elizabeth Engelhorn. “This in turn will help our organization be more accessible to our local community and create a better environment for everyone.”

Specifically, awarded funds will assist SBH in developing agency-wide assessments, programs, training, and surveys intended to create policies and practices that increase and improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within our agency positions (including middle management and leadership), employee demographics, and program services. This multi-year initiative will train staff on DEI practices, promote diversity within management positions, and increase diversity within employment demographics. By creating more engagement with staff, these initiatives will also improve employee psychological health and retention.

“Through these and other initiatives we, as an organization, are doing everything we can to promote access to needed services and make a positive impact on our communities and our employees,” said Engelhorn.

In addition to driving change within our own organization, awarded funds will also be used to educate local community members on the importance of DEI initiatives within local organizations and their direct impact on local health outcomes. This will be done through virtual “DEI Awareness” trainings. For each year of the project and after, three trainings will be offered (one per county) to educate community members on the importance of DEI for our communities and individuals. By scheduling these trainings for multiple years, we hope to keep the topic of DEI accessible and relevant to our community members.

About Southside Behavioral Health:
Established in 1972, Southside Behavioral Health provides behavioral health, developmental disability, substance use, and prevention services to the residents of Southside Virginia in Halifax, Mecklenburg, and Brunswick Counties. Southside Behavioral Health is committed to providing individualized culturally competent care in our communities, by supporting wellness and quality of life in a recovery-oriented environment and professional manner. Learn more at: