Advocating for and improving mental health care access and awareness

Current Grant Cycle: March 1 Through April 5, 2024

The UWSWI Mental Health Pathway Grant seeks to improve access to behavioral health supportive services and behavioral health awareness and skill-building opportunities for low-income people in Spencer, Vanderburgh and/or Warrick Counties.

Applicants must be either an IRS registered 501(c) 3 organization in good standing, or a community group with a 501(c)3 organization in good standing serving as its fiscal agent/sponsor.

There will be 2 funding tracks for the spring 2024 grant: 

• Funding for programs providing individualized behavioral health services by a licensed mental health provider 

• Funding for programs providing mental health education or skill-building 

The minimum request is $50,000. Non-profit service providers are welcome to apply to either or both funding tracks.

Watch the video below for details on the grant and how to set up “digital office hours” if you have questions.

Read the Request for Proposal

The purpose statement provides grant details and the full Request for Proposal (RFP). Click below to access the document.

The Challenge

“The evidence is strong for a causal relationship between poverty and mental health. However, findings suggest poverty leads to mental health and developmental problems that, in turn, prevent individuals and families from leaving poverty, creating a vicious, intergenerational cycle of poverty and poor health.”

– Simon, et al., Psychiatric Times (2018)

Although people who have a lower income are associated with a higher risk for mental health challenges, several barriers prevent many from accessing care. Financial barriers, logistical challenges, and the long-standing stigma associated with mental health problems are just a few reasons low-income populations may not receive the treatment they need.

the pathway to reaching their potential

Expanding mental health care access to low-income individuals and families

Financial considerations and insurance are significant factors in low-income populations’ ability to obtain the mental health care they need. Fortunately, nonprofits can help fill the gaps with sliding scale and income-based services. Our funded partners at Catholic Charities Diocese of Evansville are an example. Catholic Charities counseling staff provides mental health services for individuals, couples, and families at an affordable rate, which takes in consideration family income and number of dependents. United Way funding is focused on helping increase the capacity of the counseling staff to serve more clients.

Increasing the network of mental health professionals working with students from low-income homes

Students who live in or near poverty oftentimes live in chaotic or unstable environments, which leads to increased stress. In fact, research has shown children living in poverty are 3 times more likely, on average, to suffer from psychiatric conditions1. United Way is providing funds to Youth First to underwrite the addition of a clinical supervisor and two Licensed Clinical Social Workers, one of which will serve English as a Second Language students. Access to mental health professionals in the school environment is an excellent opportunity to address issues as they arise, and help students respond in healthy ways in future situations.
1Children’s Mental Health: Is Poverty the Diagnosis?, Jakovljevic, et al. (2016)


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