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New multi-year grant program to improve mental wellness opens

Oct. 10, 2022

Program provides $600,000 over three years to improve mental health outcomes in Springfield

With the focus on World Mental Health Day today, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks announces the launch of a new grant program accepting multi-year proposals to reduce barriers that deter people from seeking support for mental-health services.

The Advancing Mental Wellness program kicked with a video announcement on Facebook at 2 p.m. today, which describes the intent of this first-time grant cycle. The announcement also includes several short segments to mark this day with guided mental-wellness exercises provided by representatives from Burrell Behavioral Health’s Be Well community initiative.

The CFO Board of Directors approved this $200,000 grant cycle for 2022–23 in response to the need for mental-wellness services identified in the 2022 Springfield Community Regional Health Assessment produced by the Ozarks Health Commission. Mental health ranked first among community priorities based on emergency department and public health data. The findings include:

  • 28% of all ER visits for health issues were related to mental-health or substance-use issues;
  • Springfield community residents aged 18–64 receive mental-health care at a rate double that of younger residents and more than quadruple that of older residents;
  • The Springfield/Health Commission region’s suicide rate, which worsened since the last assessment, is 22%, which is 20% higher than Missouri’s at 18.3% and 64% higher than the U.S. at 13.4%; and
  • The mental-illness diagnosis for African Americans making ER visits is double the rate of any other well-defined race group in the Springfield community.

“Here in the Springfield community, every 5.5 days, someone is dying of suicide,” said Aaron Schekorra, public health information administrator for Springfield Greene-County Health, referring to data from the recent community health assessment. “Thankfully, the report also showed that there is the leadership, momentum and resources in place in our community to make positive change on this issue and create better mental health for our community.”

This grant round will follow an RFP process starting with an initial review of partnership-focused proposals from agencies with eligible 501(c)3 or equivalent IRS status. Finalists will then submit a full grant application in early 2023, with grants presented in early spring. Agencies may apply for the full $200,000, but smaller proposals also will be considered. Successful recipients will have the opportunity to renew the grants for two additional years.

Agencies can begin the application process at Initial proposals must be submitted by 11:45 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15.

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