Kent transport

Two Kent nonprofits receive funding to provide mental health services

Two Kent nonprofits will receive funding to help provide mental health services to reduce health disparities.

Living Well Kent will receive up to $537,000 and Kent Youth & Family Services will receive $225,743, according to a press release from the Seattle-based nonprofit HealthierHere collaboration.

HealthierHere announced in June that it would invest $6.5 million to help 14 partner organizations develop innovative approaches to reduce health disparities in King County. HealthierHere is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health and promoting equity in King County,

The funding, which HealthierHere secured through its role as King County’s lead health community, will be distributed to partners through two strategies:

■ $5 million for community-based innovations in social determinants of health to improve health outcomes by addressing factors outside the health care system such as housing, employment, access to food, transportation, mental health and more.

■ $1.5 million for Tribal Health Innovations to reduce health disparities experienced by American Indians, Alaska Natives and Tribal-Affiliated Natives in King County.

There are nine regional community health lead groups in Washington State that are working with cross-sector partners to improve health and well-being as part of Washington State’s Medicaid Transformation. Healthier This is the representative from King County.

Kent Youth & Family Services primarily serves low-income and BIPOC youth and families, many of whom are immigrants/refugees, who face long-standing physical and mental health disparities, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic , according to a HealthierHere spokesperson.

Often families may be reluctant to access formal counselling, in addition there is also a lack of culturally appropriate and culturally relevant mental health services. The Kent Youth and Family Services Innovation project will provide culturally appropriate mental health supports by leveraging existing community resources and structures and providing accessible care through arts and education activities familiar to the community.

Under this project, Kent Youth & Family Services will take a three-pronged approach to providing on-site mental health supports through its after-school programs:

■ Weekly Art as Expression groups led by therapists and peer group programs for primary school participants and adolescents at social housing sites to build mental health, self-esteem and problems solving

■ Mental health training for after-school staff to better identify and address the mental health needs of participants and families

■ Whole person health education for parents, families and community members

Living Well Kent will implement and design an 18-month program of community-initiated care in Kent, according to a HealthierHere spokesperson. This community-initiated approach to care will work with Somali, Afro-Latin, African-American and Iraqi communities in Kent using ‘task-sharing’ or ‘task-shifting’ – a model of intervention not dependent not on licensed clinicians, but rather unspecialized, trained health care workers and “lay” members of the community.

Living Well Kent will use community navigators and faith leaders to design a culturally and linguistically appropriate program that meets the holistic mental health needs of underrepresented communities.

There will be pilot training/capacity building to help community members ensure they acquire the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to deliver high quality, evidence-based programs for prevention and early intervention of mental health problems. Their overall goal is to raise awareness about a topic that is stigmatized within communities.


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