May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. According to the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment’s 2022 Community Health Survey, “roughly 29% of Weld County adults reported thinking they needed behavioral or mental health care or counseling in the past twelve months” with a higher proportion being low-income residents.1
The Weld Trust awarded over $1.25 million in behavioral health grants for 19 programs to 16 organizations in 2022. “Behavioral health issues can affect any person regardless of their gender, age, race, geography, or income status,” stated Jeff Carlson, Chief Executive Officer of The Weld Trust. “We want to help ensure Weld County residents can obtain the care they need for their wellbeing.”
The Weld Trust’s Behavioral Health grants span across several program areas including direct intervention, prevention services, as well as social emotional learning.
The direct intervention grants aim to increase accessible treatment, crisis services, prevention education, and referral networks for Weld County residents. Two of the grants aimed at direct intervention and suicide prevention totaled $472,555 to North Range Behavioral Health last year. North Range provides behavioral and mental health services to all ages across Weld County. They offer four Counseling Centers in Fort Lupton, Carbon Valley, West Greeley, and Windsor. One of The Weld Trust grants enabled them to recruit and hire more qualified mental health professionals, while a separate grant enabled the Suicide Education and Support Services (SESS) Program to educate Weld County residents on the warning signs of suicide.
The prevention services grants are designed to increase the number of support groups and programs for individuals and families. One of the grants focusing on prevention services was an $80,693 grant to the University of Northern Colorado Foundation’s Bridging the Gap program toward connecting youth and families in Weld County to free and low-cost mental health services. The program helps improve collaboration between UNC’s School of Psychological Sciences and service providers to better meet the mental health needs of youth in the community, as well as encourages UNC’s graduate trainees to remain in the community after graduation thus increasing the number of qualified mental health professionals in Weld County long-term. The Weld Trust grant supported personnel and materials for the program.
The social emotional learning grants promote social connectedness across a person’s lifespan. The Weld Trust awarded a grant of $110,500 to Youth Empowerment Group to create a curriculum toward social emotional learning in schools. This curriculum will be focused on promoting mental health; socioeconomic, gender, and racial equality; safe, healthy relationships; and academic success by creating and providing innovative social-emotional learning life skills curricula. These programs will be provided for free to Weld County schools, after-school programs, youth organizations, and mentor groups. The grant from The Weld Trust supported costs associated with creating the curricula.
Behavioral Health is one of The Weld Trust’s seven Key Funding Initiatives. They offer grants to nonprofits, schools, and governmental entities located in Weld County or providing services exclusively for Weld County residents. “These grants awarded to North Range Behavioral Health, UNC Foundation, and Youth Empowerment Group offer services spanning across Weld County,” Carlson shared. “We are pleased to award grants for these types of programs and others in behavioral health. We commend all the nonprofits and schools in Weld County that are providing services to improve the mental health of our residents.”
To learn more about the Behavioral Health initiative or other key funding initiatives, visit www.weldtrust.org/grants.