To continue its focus on expanding access to mental health care for the community, Emerson Hospital named three local grant recipients to address the needs of residents in its service area. Acton-Boxborough United Way, Elder Services of Merrimack Valley-North Shore, and First Connections, a program of JRI, will receive funds from Emerson over the next three years to improve the accessibility of mental health services for residents. The recipients collectively represent the entire life span and were chosen among 18 applicants from a request for proposal process held during the fall of 2021.
Mental health care was identified as a critical need across all ages, income levels, and racial/ethnic groups in Emerson’s most recent Community Health Needs Assessment. “The pandemic significantly exacerbated the need for mental health support for people of all ages. Core to our mission of providing care to residents in our community, we are pleased to partner with these innovative organizations to make mental health care more accessible to all,” said Emerson Hospital President and CEO Christine Schuster, RN, MBA.
The grants will be used by the organizations in the following ways:
Acton-Boxborough United Way will focus on strengthening community resilience, conduct a community assessment, create a mental health coalition, and launch a resiliency challenge to help reduce stigma and empower residents to recognize and address mental health challenges.
Elder Services of Merrimack Valley-North Shore plans to establish an Elder Mental Health Outreach Team to connect adults in the Westford area with behavioral health services in the community. A clinician will identify at-risk seniors for counseling, support groups, and homecare services.
First Connections will offer the First Year of Life program to under-served families throughout Emerson’s service area. This program provides education and resources to families with infants, including mental health care, wellness support, and referral services.
Funding for the grants is stipulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health based on the capital investment of Emerson’s new Digestive Health Center that is expected to open this spring. For more information, please visit www.emersonhospital.org/community-programs. For additional grant opportunities visit www.emersonhospital.org/grants. For mental health resources in the community, visit www.emersonhospital.org/mentalhealthresources.