California Endowment Awards $24M in Mental Health Grants
The California Endowment, the state's largest health foundation, announced last week plans to award $24 million in grants to mental health service providers under the group's Special Opportunity in Mental Health Funding Request for Proposals. According to the foundation, the grants will allow community-based organizations to develop new prevention and intervention plans, targeting the "most at risk, vulnerable populations" such as abused children, the homeless, refugee and immigrant populations and families "experiencing the trauma of domestic violence." California Endowment President and CEO Dr. Robert Ross cited "a lack of access to coordinated and comprehensive services" as the "most overwhelming mental health need," adding, "Increased funding of culturally competent mental health services also [is] a critical issue." The foundation has offered a number of recommendations to improve the state's mental health system, including:
- increasing the "level of resources" for mental health providers and providing them with funding flexibility to "think creatively" about programs;
- supporting plans that provide "linguistically and culturally competent" mental health care and "increasing cultural work force diversity among providers";
- providing care for underserved populations that "have not historically accessed services due to the enormous stigma" attached to mental illness;
- distributing information about "model" mental health programs and encouraging practitioners to "learn from one another" to improve existing programs or develop new plans; and
- encouraging and developing "nontraditional service delivery models." (California Endowment release, 2/1).
Meanwhile, Kern Family Health Care, a not-for-profit insurance firm that manages Medi-Cal managed care and Healthy Families contracts in Kern County, announced last week that it will award $1 million in grants for health education programs and $1 million for community service projects that address health issues. The health education grants -- up to $100,000 annually -- will target rural communities, Spanish-speaking residents, Medi-Cal and Healthy Families beneficiaries and the disabled, while the community service awards -- which range from $1,000 to $25,000 -- are designed for programs with "broader focus" or for "one-time events." According to Kern Family health educator Veva Worthy, the decision to award the grants comes after the company conducted a needs assessment survey revealing that "more health education was needed." Not-for-profit and for-profit groups may apply for health education grants by March 15 and community service grants by Dec. 20, but for-profit firms must match the grant amount (Bakersfield Californian, 2/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.