Essentia Health And Brainerd Public Schools Foundations Awarded $100,000 Mental Health Initiative Grant
A collaborative effort between Essentia Health – St. Joseph’s Foundation, Crow Wing County, Central Lakes College, and the Brainerd Public Schools Foundation have been awarded a $100,000 grant for a new mental health initiative. The grant was awarded from Sourcewell through their first Nonprofit Innovation Funding program.
With the grant, the organizations are working together to implement a youth-focused mental health program. In addition, the project will expand the current “Make It OK” mental health awareness program to focus on reaching parents, teachers, and other adults.
According to a release, Minnesota’s suicide rate has increased by 40% since 1999, making it the 8th leading cause of death in the state. However, it is the 2nd leading cause of death for Minnesotans ages 10 through 24.
The 2017 Crow Wing County Community Health Survey reported that 28.2% of adults in the county are impacted by mental illness. Last year, Crow Wing Energized implemented the “Make It OK” campaign, reaching approximately 1,700 adults in the county. However, no equivalent campaign is currently in place to reach youth.
Funding will specifically support the partnership in analyzing curriculum options, training ambassadors who will later train presenters, and establishing a pilot program.
Laine Larson, Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent, shared, “It truly is a community partnership that’s taking a concern and partnering again to reduce stigma and provide support and services to children and families in our region.”
“There has never been a better time to influence our entire communities perception about mental illness. Decreasing the stigma by improving awareness and helping people support each other will improve the mental health of our students and families. We are all called to make a healthy difference,” said Adam Rees, President of Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd and surrounding clinics.