Funding to Have Short- and Long-Term Benefits for Underserved
West Palm Beach, Fla.– The Florida Blue Foundation has awarded Palm Health Foundation a $238,218 four-year grant to implement Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in Palm Beach County’s underserved communities. The grant will fund MHFA training for 2,000 residents and create long-term, self-sustaining impact by certifying trainers in each community to provide ongoing multi-lingual mental health education. MHFA is a national program that teaches skills to respond to the signs of mental illness and substance use.
Palm Health Foundation will facilitate partnerships with Alpert Jewish Family Services, Palm Beach County’s MHFA coordinator, and the foundation’s Healthier Together communities in West Palm Beach/Riviera Beach, Lake Worth, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Belle Glade. The Palm Health-funded communities are a trusted network of health professionals and community members working together to solve complex health issues. They will provide an established platform for launching MHFA.
“Florida Blue Foundation is dedicated to providing residents and neighborhoods the skills to become more self-sufficient when it comes to their health care” said Florida Blue Foundation Vice President Susan Towler. “Our grant to Palm Health Foundation aligns so well with our mission to help people and communities achieve better health.”
The funding will target communities where the need is high, but the number of residents seeking help is low because of stigma and access to services. According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population, yet the majority don’t seek professional help. Research has found that many African Americans rely on faith, family and social communities for emotional support rather than turning to health care professionals, even though medical or therapeutic treatment may be necessary. Among Latinos, a 2001 Surgeon General’s report found that only 20 percent of Latinos with symptoms of a psychological disorder talk to a doctor about their concerns.
“Our network of Healthier Together communities is uniquely positioned to deliver Mental Health First Aid in ways that understand and respect each community’s culture and language and establish trust,” said Patrick McNamara, president and CEO of Palm Health Foundation. “By certifying MHFA trainers in each community, we are creating a sustainable solution to reach underserved community members and connect them to the appropriate care before a crisis can occur.”
The Florida Blue Foundation grant helped Palm Health Foundation reach its $1 mllion Campaign for Better Brain Health goal 14 months ahead of schedule. The success of the campaign demonstrates the recognized need for more mental health support, which has claimed the top spot of Palm Beach County’s greatest unmet health needs for several years in a row.
"Thanks to the Florida Blue Foundation, we are answering the need for innovative solutions to improve our community's mental health," said McNamara.
About Palm Health Foundation
Palm Health Foundation is Palm Beach County’s community foundation for health. With the support of donors and a focus on results, the foundation builds strong community partnerships, respects diverse opinions, advocates for its most vulnerable neighbors and inspires innovative solutions to lead change for better health now and for generations to come. Palm Health Foundation has invested more than $78 million in Palm Beach County health since 2001. For more information about Palm Health Foundation, visit PalmHealthFoundation.org or call (561) 833-6333.
About Florida Blue Foundation
Florida Blue Foundation enables healthy communities by making grants, building coalitions and rewarding best practices. More than three million people in Florida have received direct health services as a result of grants made to nonprofit organizations since its founding in 2001. Florida Blue Foundation is a trade name of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation, Inc., an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.floridabluefoundation.com.