TYLER — Andrews Center gets nearly half a million dollars in grant money to help people with mental health needs.

The grant money came from the Episcopal Health Foundation based out of Houston, and it couldn't come at a more crucial time.

The Andrews Center aims to help people across East Texas with mental health issues, especially those who can't usually afford it.

If the increase in patients wasn't already a strain, according ot Kathy Wakefield with the center, East Texas is one of the poorest and least mentally stable regions in the state.

The support doesn't match the need.

"Texas has a 1,000 psychiatrist shortage, of being able to meet the mental health needs of its citizens, and East Texas has the fewest in the region," Wakefield said.

She said the staff at the Andrews Center works hard to help as many people as they can, but it's not always possible without adequate funding.

"There are always funding needs for all programs," Wakefield said.

That's where grants like this one come in, according to Cindy Grace, the Chief of Operations at the Center.

One of the things they'll be putting the money towards is a practice manager.

"One of the things that we talked about earlier was being able to get people in quicker, reducing our no-shows, and allow our psychiatrists time to see patients in a timely manner," Grace said.

Efficiency may not be a glamorous word, but it's necessary for places like the Andrews Center to help as many people as possible.

The center helps around 12,000 people a year.

That number is steadily growing, along with the wait for an appointment.

"Not to have to wait two or three months to have to get an appointment," Grace said.

She said getting that number down isn't going to be easy, but being able to help as many people as possible will be worth the work.

CBS19 reached out to the Episcopal Health Foundation for a statement on why they chose Andrews for the grant.

"EHF is focused on strengthening systems of health across Texas, and this is a great example of how we can do that with a critical mental health agency in Northeast Texas."