LifeSkills Inc. will receive $491,000 from the Federal Communications Commission to expand telehealth services in southcentral Kentucky.

The grant is funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which Congress approved in March. The money will be used for equipment upgrades and telemedicine software.

“Telemedicine has become vitally important as we respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and sadly, the need for quality mental health care has increased during this crisis,” U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, said Thursday in a news release. “This grant will allow LifeSkills to improve their telehealth services so they can continue the important work that they do to help Kentuckians. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to direct further resources to the Second District during this unprecedented time.”

Joe Dan Beavers, CEO of LifeSkills, said the organization had to transition most of its services to the telehealth platform when the coronavirus pandemic hit. LifeSkills works in conjunction with Pennyroyal Center in Hopkinsville to serve 18 predominantly rural counties.

“We found that while we were able to do that in a small capacity, we needed some help to kind of ramp that up to really offer the robust venue of services to the clients in our area,” Beavers said. “I saw the funding opportunity in April and applied for it.”

Beavers said the funds will be used mostly to purchase upgraded laptops and mobile devices for clinical teams to use in providing remote services, as well as software to work alongside electronic health records to allow for secure signatures for treatment planning and releasing of information.

“It’s really a core building block for our telemedicine program for our clinical staff,” Beavers said.

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