The MetroWest Health Foundation announced in a press release on Thursday that it approved $329,000 in grants to local organizations to improve the health of elders and adolescents, and to assess how some school districts are able to handle students' mental health needs.
Four school districts in Holliston, Framingham, Natick, and Needham will conduct mental health capacity assessments that will evaluate the procedures currently in place to identify, prevent and refer students to mental health treatment and intervention services. The schools will receive training from Boston’s Children’s Hospital researchers on how to complete the assessments, interpret the results and identify areas of improvement.
Mental health issues among students are an area of focus for the foundation. The foundation’s 2012 MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey found that one in five high school students reported symptoms of depression, and 5 percent of youth had attempted suicide in the past year.
“It’s clear from our health survey and from talking with school officials that more needs to be done to ensure that students have access to appropriate mental health services and supports,” said Martin Cohen, president of the foundation.
In addition to the school mental health capacity assessments, the foundation’s board of trustees approved an additional 13 grants, including:
From the Framingham Union Grants Panel:
Framingham Public Schools – $25,000 grant to help adolescent boys obtain information and skills needed to build healthy relationships and prevent teen pregnancy.
Framingham State University – $10,000 grant to offer the Lifelong Learning Series Program, which provides social support and enrichment to older adults.
Jewish Family Service of MetroWest – $48,266 grant to train volunteers to assist elders with medical appointments.
New England Eye Institute - $6,000 grant to provide eyeglasses to low-income children.
From the Leonard Morse Grants Panel:
Natick Fire Department - $20,000 to train and certify Natick High School students in CPR, cardiac defibrillation and first aid.
Grants from the Distribution Committee:
Ashland Public Schools - $18,515 to reduce marijuana use among Ashland’s adolescents ages 10-19.
Franklin Council on Aging - $12,245 to offer in-home respite care relief for caregivers of elders in Franklin and Bellingham.
Jewish Vocational Service/ReServe Greater Boston - $48,481 to establish a MetroWest hub for ReServe Greater Boston to enhance the lives of older adults.
Millis Public Schools - $6,740 to train counseling staff in dialectical behavioral therapy, resulting in a reduction of self-harming behaviors among middle school students.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts - $33,747 to expand sexual health education programs for parents and teens in Milford and Marlborough.
REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Inc. - $23,511 to address teen dating violence and increase bystander intervention.
Senior Support Foundation/Holliston, Dover and Sherborn COA - $9,775 to offer evidence-based fall prevention programming.
Share Our Strength - $42,056 to educate parents of young children on good nutrition and healthy eating habits.
The MetroWest Health Foundation states that it provides more than $4 million in annual financial support for preventative and responsive health programs. To date, the Foundation has provided more than $37 million in financial support that helps residents and their families lead healthier lives. For more information, visit www.mwhealth.org.