The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation is pleased to announce $150,000 in new grant awards to three Massachusetts organizations addressing gaps in behavioral health care access. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when the already critical need for behavioral health care is heightened, the Foundation remains committed to supporting nonprofits that are expanding access to evidenced based care for our most vulnerable residents.
The Foundation''s Board of Directors approved three Special Initiative grants of $50,000 each to:
- Bridge Over Troubled Waters, a Boston-based nonprofit that provides innovative services to runaway, homeless and high-risk youth, many of whom have experienced trauma in the past and now face greater challenges in the current public health crisis. The grant will fund training for four counselors in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and virtual or residential program based support group therapy sessions for homeless youth. DBT teaches young adults skills to manage their behavioral health so they have a better chance to be able to focus on achieving long terms goals such as education, housing, and employment.
- United Teen Equality Center (UTEC), a nonprofit whose mission is to ignite and nurture the ambition of youth from Lowell and Lawrence. The grant will support UTEC''s "Circling Home" pilot for incarcerated or probation/parole-involved young adults. The project will create a behavioral health continuum of services for youth who are re-entering their communities in this new pandemic environment. The collaboration between behavioral health services and the criminal justice system aims to improve health outcomes and reduce recidivism. UTEC is partnering with the Sheriff''s Offices in Middlesex and Essex counties, the Massachusetts Probation Service, and Lowell Community Health Center.
- William James College, an independent, nonprofit institution in Newton and leader in psychology education that prepares students for careers in behavioral health. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated long-standing challenges in the behavioral health workforce. The grant will support the Behavioral Health Service Corps, a pilot program that will engage 20 to 25 recent college graduates interested in behavioral health careers to spend a year learning about and working in inpatient units, home-based services, residential treatment, and recovery centers. A key goal is to diversify and grow the behavioral health workforce. Initial employer partners include JRI, Riverside Community Care, Lahey Health Behavioral Services, and the Home for Little Wanderers.
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