If you make grants to nonprofits or are leading grantmaking for one of the many COVID-19 response funds, here are some strategies for crisis giving.
There are many ways for funders to support organizations addressing the second wave of mental health needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prioritizing information, access, advocacy, and direct support can help individuals newly struggling or those left more vulnerable by the pandemic cope with the struggles they’re facing. Below, you’ll find a list of all organizations mentioned in this blog, along with more information about their mission, how they’re adapting to changing needs in the coronavirus landscape, and how philanthropy can help.
WHYY has built one of the only behavioral health reporting desks in the country, providing award-winning, multimedia coverage of behavioral health issues across the Delaware Valley. Over the past ten years, the behavioral health reporting desks have filed more than 2,070 reports covering the many aspects of behavioral health, including 350 in the past year alone.
Solutions Journalism Network is a nonprofit organization that advocates and aggregates evidence-based reporting on the responses to social problems, including COVID-19. With distrust in media at a high during a time where accurate, timely, and resource-rich information is needed most, partners within the Solutions Journalism Network are helping to fill this gap.
The Carter Center’s Mental Health Program works to promote awareness of mental health issues, inform policy, and reduce stigma. Their Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health provides journalists with best practices on reporting stories related to mental health and addiction.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides resources for journalists reporting on suicide, overdose, child abuse, and other behavioral health issues. AFSP has an extensive catalog of social media resources, public service announcements, talking points for media professionals, and resources for workplaces and schools specific to COVID-19.
Shatterproof, a national nonprofit dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in the U.S., is launching ATLAS (Addiction Treatment Locator, Analysis, and Standards) in July to support people with SUDs and their loved ones in locating high-quality addiction treatment in six states (New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Louisiana, North Carolina, & West Virginia), with plans for national expansion.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is the 24/7, confidential support number that individuals who are in crisis can call, as well as others looking for resources to help someone else, and professionals seeking best practices.
Crisis Text Line is a 24/7 texting number for individuals in crisis to be connected to a crisis counselor, operating in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. All text messages are answered by a trained volunteer. CTL also maintains Crisis Trends, providing an online open data platform so individuals can better understand the crises facing their communities. (Note recent changes in leadership)
RI International is a global nonprofit organization with more than 50 programs in the United States and abroad offering comprehensive crisis care, as well as ongoing counseling, supportive housing, recovery services, re-entry support, and training and technical assistance.
The Trevor Project provides resources and phone, text, and online chat support to LGBTQ+ youth, including crisis support. Recognizing the significant strain COVID may have on young LGBTQ+ people, Trevor has complied resources for youth on navigating a loss of positive social connections, unemployment concerns, and being ordered to stay at home in a non-affirming environment.
Trans Lifeline is an exclusively transgender-led and operated crisis support hotline for the trans community. Recognizing the link between economic instability and suicide in the trans community, Trans Lifeline also runs a microgrants program to assist individuals in costs associated with legal name changes, updating official government documents, and special supports for incarcerated and undocumented people.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI’s extensive network of local affiliates are working to respond to the specific COVID-19 related needs of the communities they serve.
CareMessage is a nonprofit mobile technology provider that works with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and free clinics to enable text message appointment reminders, referrals, and disease management guidance to patients in the U.S. They sell a market-rate service to FQHCs that subsidizes the services provided to free clinics at a nominal cost.
Project ECHO has been a pioneer in remote technical assistance for primary healthcare providers in need of specialty support. Project ECHO provides Primary Care Providers, many of whom have transitioned to primarily using telemedicine, the support to feel confident in diagnosing and treating common behavioral health concerns, like depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders, in a telehealth context.
The National Network of Child Psychiatry Access Programs (NNCPAP) was developed in response to a severe shortage of child psychiatrists and a desire to empower more primary care doctors to address mental health concerns within their practices. NNCPAP links pediatricians and family medicine doctors with child psychiatrists to conduct mental health care consultations over the phone.
Mental Health Partnerships is a peer-centered advocacy, learning, and services organization in Philadelphia. Since COVID-19, MHP has moved many of their vital services to a telehealth model, including their peer support network, rapid rehousing, information and referrals, and advocacy services.
MHP Salud is a nonprofit organization focused on promoting Community Health Workers as a culturally appropriate strategy to improve health outcomes for the Latinx community, including via mental health services. MHP Salud provides training and consulting services to assist in implementing the CHW model, technical assistance, and advocacy to promote the widespread adoption of community health workers.
National Council for Behavioral Health, a national membership coalition of over 3,000 mental health and addiction provider organizations, is supporting local community behavioral health organizations to build behavioral health provider capacity and continue to provide safe and quality services to 10 million adults, children, and families through donations to their COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Community Access, in New York City, supports individuals living with mental health concerns through affordable housing, job training and education, advocacy and healing-focused services. Programs have adapted to continue to deliver critical services in line with social distancing guidelines.
NY Coalition for Behavioral Health serves New York’s behavioral health community providing policy, advocacy, training, and technical assistance to more than 100 community-based behavioral health providers. As a result of COVID-19, the NY Coalition for Behavioral Health is supporting its members to respond to the increased need for behavioral health services.
Mental Health Association of San Francisco is a peer-led social justice community providing mental health support, education, and training across San Francisco, the Bay Area, and California. MHASF has had to adapt support programs online due to coronavirus.
Fountain House is a New York-based nonprofit which pioneered the clubhouse model for individuals with serious mental illness. While social connection is vital to individuals living with SMI and at the heart of the clubhouse model, Fountain House has transitioned their wide range of services to be digital and home-based in order to best serve their members who can no longer attend clubhouse activities in person, while continuing to foster community and prevent social isolation.
Pathways to Housing PA is a comprehensive Housing First model that enables an individual’s self-directed recovery and community integration by providing stable housing, supportive services, and connections to care without any pre-requisites or qualifications. The combination of permanent supportive housing and services available at a level appropriate to the individual’s needs not only helps people get back on their feet, but also to integrate into their new communities.
Homeboy Industries, in Los Angeles, provides wraparound supportive services to enable a positive transition out of the criminal justice system. In addition to providing case management and therapeutic support, Homeboy Industries operates several social enterprises to build their members’ (called trainees) job and life skills.
Prevention Point Philadelphia is a community-based organization that provides a combination of immediate life-saving measures through harm reduction measures, such as naloxone distribution and needle exchange, and basic medical services. Prevention Point operates a primary and specialty care clinic to provide testing services and medication assisted treatment (MAT), as well as a mobile clinic to prevent and respond to drug overdoses.
The Center for Harm Reduction Therapy is a substance use treatment organization in San Francisco and Oakland that uses a harm reduction model to support clients toward recovery. The Center has adapted their programs in response to the pandemic by developing a phone support line staffed by their therapists, and responding to the COVID-19 related needs of their clients (i.e. screening, more naloxone and sterile syringes, food access, homeless outreach).
The Kennedy Forum advocates for better federal policy related to the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders, and is a leading organization in the fight for parity in insurance coverage for behavioral health services.
Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute provides high quality, nonpartisan and objective policy research to improve mental health services in Texas. Meadows MHPI has been at the forefront of modeling the impacts of COVID and the related economic recession on deaths of despair, particularly suicide and opioid overdoses.
Massachusetts Association for Mental Health works to advance mental health and well-being by promoting prevention, early intervention, effective treatment and research to address social, emotional, and mental health challenges. MAMH has also been closely monitoring the estimated impact of COVID-19 on behavioral health-related morbidity and mortality, and operates Network of Care Massachusetts.
One Mind is a lived-experience led nonprofit focused on helping people with brain illness and injury recover so they can succeed in their lives. One Mind creates and supports brain health programs through research, treatment implementation and scale-up, and initiatives to end stigma and discrimination.
Mental Health America provides a multitude of mental health resources, including peer advocacy services, education, community outreach, and policy research. Their online tools, including their mental health screening module, can help individuals identify and begin addressing mental health concerns early, virtually.
Treatment Advocacy Center is a mental health policy think tank focused on policies to support individuals with serious mental illness. In response to COVID-19, they continue to advocate for key legislation related to the treatment of those with SMI.
The TREP Project supports schools and educators to address the impact of trauma within the realities of school and classroom management, particularly for schools in neighborhoods where all children may be exposed to high rates of chronic stress. TREP Educators are helping schools prepare to respond to a national mental health crisis in response to COVID-19.
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit affiliate of Sesame Street, is focused on developing resources for parents, caregivers, and others who work with children on talking to very young people about difficult issues. Their toolkits cover issues like incarceration, foster care, racism, gender equity, divorce, refugee response, and autism. Sesame Workshop has developed Caring for Each Other, a toolkit specifically designed for talking to children about COVID-19.
JED Foundation is a leader in socio-emotional learning and suicide prevention for young people in the United States. In the wake of COVID, JED has shifted some of its signature programming online, including its Set to Go program focused on the transition from high school.
Active Minds, through its chapters on college campuses nationwide, supports the mental health and well-being of students. Since the transition to online learning, Active Minds has also moved its programming online, while also adding webinars, live discussions, special events, and resources guides for students, schools, parents, and remote work.
YV Lifeset is an intensive 6- to 12-month intervention program for at-risk youth. Participants meet one-on-one with a specialist at least once a week to set goals for housing, education, employment, and other aspects of independent life. In addition to weekly meetings, YVLifeSet provides 24/7 on-call support.
Coronavirus Online Therapy is an initiative of the Therapy Aid Coalition to connect essential workers with licensed therapists for short term, free or low cost therapy in all 50 states. The initiative also offers free training and education to therapists to prevent COVID-related burnout and reduce the likelihood of unintended traumatization during therapy.
The Emotional PPE Project was started in response to the substantial stress healthcare workers are experiencing due to COVID-19 and the increased stress of working long hours, increased risk of exposure for them and their family members, and experience of loss. The project connects healthcare workers in need of free therapy and support with mental health providers.
Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare provides education, training and support to hundreds of healthcare organizations in the U.S., Canada, U.K, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand with an emphasis on caregiver well-being, quality of care, patient outcomes, and shared learnings.
Women Against Abuse is Philadelphia’s main domestic violence advocacy and emergency shelter agency. With social distancing and stay-at-home orders putting individuals, women particularly, at higher risk of violence if isolating with an abusive partner, WAA has maintained their hotline services, emergency shelters, transitional housing, and legal center operations to assist those in need.
Fundacion Ana Bella supports women in Spain who’ve experienced abuse reenter the job market, by providing them with vocational training in products and sales, building self-esteem, encouraging social empowerment, and establishing partnerships with global brands for job placement.
American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry is a membership association of nearly 2,000 geriatric psychiatrists and other health care professionals in the United States, Canada, and abroad, dedicated to the mental well-being of older adults. The AAGP aims to train more providers to keep pace with the growing number of elderly patients requiring care.
The Steve Fund works with colleges and universities, non-profits, researchers, mental health experts, families, and young people to promote programs and strategies for the mental well-being of young people of color.
Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man (BAM) and Working on Womanhood (WOW) programs support Chicago youth dealing with challenges in school, at home, or in their communities. WOW is a school year-long group counseling and clinical mentoring program working to improve social-emotional competencies for girls in 7th-12th grade exposed to traumatic stressors in high risk, under-resourced communities. Similarly, BAM works on the social-emotional development of adolescent boys and strives to prevent them from the impacts of violence, which is especially important in Chicago as homicide is the leading cause of death for minority boys and men aged 15-24.
The Loveland Foundation works with Black women and girls across the country to provide access to therapy and other mental health services through their therapy fund and partnerships with Therapy for Black Girls, National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network, Talkspace, and Open Path Collective.
Therapy for Black Girls is an online community for Black women and girls that aims to present mental health topics in a way that feels more accessible and relevant, and to help users connect with mental health care providers.
The Confess Project is committed to building a culture of mental health for boys, men of color, and their families through capacity building, advocacy, organizing and movement building. Their signature initiative, the Barber Coalition, trains barbers to have conversations with their clients about mental health and then provide them with linkages to services and care if needed. The Confess Project aims to ensure mental health care is more broadly accessible and less stigmatized in communities of color.