ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced $2,956,000 in awards to improve the retention of health care workers by reducing burnout and promoting mental health and wellness.

These awards will fund evidence-informed programs, practices and training, with a specific focus on providers in underserved and rural communities. The funds, secured through the Biden-Harris Administration’s American Rescue Plan, will be disbursed to Centerstone Of Illinois, Inc. over the next three years. It is a not-for-profit health care organization that provides mental health support and substance use disorder treatments.

“I have traveled to many health centers across the country and know that the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified issues that have long been a source of stress for frontline health care workers — from increased patient volumes to long working hours,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This funding reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensuring we have enough critical frontline workers by supporting health care providers now and beyond as they face burnout and mental health challenges.”

According to health officials, while the challenge is complex, these multi-year awards will support proven strategies for health care providers, academic institutions and other recipients to reduce burnout and build resiliency. These strategies will include the creation of partnerships and utilization of local resources to directly support health professionals’ response to workplace stressors and provide training to help individuals manage the constantly changing, high-stress environment of health care.

“Now more than ever, it is critical to support the well-being of our health care workforce, who are working every day to protect each of us,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “Today’s awards will provide new tools to help support our health professionals’ resilience as they continue to face the stress and challenges of responding to COVID-19 and other health care needs and provide high-quality care.”

HRSA is making these awards through two programs:

See a list of the award recipients here.