Grand Foundation commits funds to mental health crisis
For Sky-Hi News
In Grand County, Mental Health Awareness Month puts an extra focus on the often insufficient mental and behavioral health services available to community members. One of the Grand Foundation’s newest programs, the H.O.P.E. Fund, focuses on improving and expanding mental health advocacy and services.
Megan Ledin, Executive Director of the Grand Foundation, spoke to the Winter Park and Fraser Chamber on Wednesday. She identified mental health as one of the foundation’s main focuses for 2022, along with housing. She told Sky-Hi News that the H.O.P.E. Fund started in 2021 from donations made in memory of people who died by suicide or drug overdose.
The new program has only met three times, but Ledin said committee members and stakeholders will work together to identify needs in Grand County related to mental health. So far, they have identified three of what Ledin called “low-hanging fruit.”
“These are three identified funding opportunities, but there are more to come in the future,” Ledin said.
The opportunities include educating the community on existing mental health resources, creating a website for mental health in Grand County and financially supporting Middle Park Health’s Behavioral Health Navigator program.
Confusion among committee members about the availability of mental health services in different parts of the county showed the need for the educational initiative, Ledin said.
“Getting that educational piece up and running is going to be key,” Ledin said. “Letting people know what’s out there, what they do in case of crisis and creating an educational piece so that whoever may be afflicted with mental or behavioral health issues [has] a place to go.”
H.O.P.E. is looking to fund a mental health website, but Ledin said they will work with a nonprofit partner to run the site and keep the information relevant.
The Grand Foundation will work with Middle Park Health to identify the best ways for the H.O.P.E. Fund to supplement the Behavioral Health Navigator program, Ledin said.
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