The Behavioral Health Initiative, launched by Cottage Health in 2017, this year has awarded more than $1 million in community partnership grants to 16 Santa Barbara County programs that address mental health and substance use.
Golden Inn and Village of Santa Ynez was one such recipient.
The affordable housing community, established in 2016 by the Rona Barrett Foundation, houses low-income seniors and families and offers senior residents therapy service assessments, support groups and individual counseling.
The grant selection process was guided by community input collected during Cottage Health’s Community Health Needs Assessment and Listening Tour, according to a Cottage Health spokeswoman.
Grant recipients, like the Golden Inn and Village, were shown to represent the tenets of the grant-giving initiative, working to increase access to and use of behavioral health services.
Additionally, each of the 16 programs have focused on adapting their services to the changing needs of their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the onset of the health crisis, the Rona Barrett Foundation reported serving double the number of seniors than usual, which included expanded hot food and fresh produce programs, as well as furnishing residents with basic necessities like toiletries and emotional support.
The Cottage Health spokeswoman said six other grant recipients with school-based programs have designed creative outreach approaches for students and parents during the pandemic.
YouthWell Coalition of Santa Barbara, for example, developed an eight-week quaranTEEN Workshop series in March in response to shifting needs. The coalition focuses on education, prevention, early intervention, and connecting youth and families to mental health and wellness resources.
Seventy-five plus Santa Barbara County students from seventh grade through college attended the virtual workshops each week. The program offered youth an opportunity to feel connected to other students, listen to speakers and focus on mental wellness, the spokeswoman said.
QuaranTEEN workshops will resume in September. A calendar of workshops along with links to mental health resources can be found at YouthWell.org.
To learn more about Cottage Population Health and Community Partnership Grants, visit cottagehealth.org/population-health.
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Lisa André covers local news and lifestyles for Santa Ynez Valley News.
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