Dignity Health and the UniHealth Foundation announced a $4 million grant program Wednesday aimed at providing mental-health awareness training for Southern California school staffers and parents.
The Cultural Trauma and Mental Health Resiliency Project is aimed at adults who regularly interact with youth, "particularly youth of color," to detect signs of mental distress and help them cope with trauma.
"Our health is affected by poverty, racism, adverse childhood experiences and violence," said Dr. Lynn Yonekura, director of community health at Dignity Health-California Hospital Medical Center. "We know that trauma and mental health issues can contribute to stress-related illnesses, such as mood and anxiety disorders, substance use disorders and suicide.
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"Linking youth to the mental health resources they need is one way we are helping schools to decrease disciplinary referrals, decrease the suicide rate, decrease absenteeism and increase on-time graduation," Yonekura said.
The $4 million in grants will be spread over three years, with funds provided to various community service agencies. The first round of grants, totaling $759,000, will be provided to nine organizations to provide training to 80 staffers. Those staffers in turn will train 7,200 people who regularly interact with youth in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
The initial grant recipients are:
- Amanecer Community Counseling Service, Los Angeles;
- National Alliance of Mental Illness Los Angeles County;
- San Fernando Valley Community Mental Health Center;
- Tarzana Treatment Centers;
- NAMI San Fernando Valley;
- NAMI Long Beach Area;
- NAMI Glendale;
- Glendale Youth Alliance; and
- Making Hope Happen Foundation, San Bernardino.