KILLINGLY, Conn. (WTNH) — A behavioral health agency in Killingly is getting money to expand its services.

United Services, a non-profit community behavioral health center that provides more than 30 programs including outpatient mental health services for adults, children, and families, is receiving $461,000 in federal funding to expand its mental health services.

“For years, our clients have used the emergency rooms frequently for primary care,” said Diane Manning, president and CEO of United Services.

This money will allow the agency to integrate primary care services within its behavioral health offerings at Dayville and also at the Mansfield Center outpatient clinics.

“The effectiveness of integrated care is well established,” said Dr. Sarah De Asis, medical director at United Services.

Many believe having primary care and behavioral health in one building will mean patients receiving one type of care will be more likely to seek the other type of care as well and that could save lives.

“The mortality and disability could be reduced if there’s an effective strategy to reduce the risk factors such as smoking and obesity,” De Asis said.

“I applaud any money that comes to northeast Connecticut,” said Killingly parent Christine Rosati Randall.

Rosati Randall has been fighting to bring a school-based health center to Killingly High School for mental and behavioral health services and said that critical need still exists.

“A student is 10 times more likely to use a service if it’s housed within a school,” Rosati Randall said. “It would provide immediate access to counseling services for a student in crisis.”

“What we’re doing here is a first step toward better primary care where people can seek mental health care but we need a lot more mental health care because Connecticut is in a mental health care crisis,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, (D) Connecticut.

Blumenthal said he and the congressional delegation will be working on getting more money for that.