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The Vermont Community Foundation Announces $147,229 in Grants to Reduce Stigma Around Mental Health

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Today, the Vermont Community Foundation announced $147,229 in grants to reduce stigma associated with poor mental health. These grants are part of the Community Foundation’s broader Mental Health and Suicide Prevention recovery initiative funded through its VT COVID-19 Response Fund, which is focused on increasing Vermonters’ access to mental health and suicide prevention care.

“As more Vermonters are experiencing mental health challenges, we must create environments where individuals feel comfortable seeking the support that they need,” says Dan Smith, president and CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation. “The pandemic has taught us that we’re all in this together—and we can all take action to reduce stigma around mental health in our communities.”

There is abundant research linking the negative effects of stigma and discrimination with worsening mental health symptoms, a reduced likelihood of seeking and staying with treatment, and a poorer prognosis for recovery. To strengthen Vermont’s mental healthcare system, reducing stigma is essential.

Stigma Reduction Grantees

  • Cathedral Square’s Support and Services at Home (SASH) program received $83,000 to support a two-year Sheds project in partnership with the Vermont Department of Mental Health. The Sheds project is about creating safe places for serious conversations (including mental health) for people while they are engaged in the act of communal making and building in a workshop setting. Funding will support the creation and evaluation of six regional Sheds projects during a two-year period.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Health Illness (NAMI) Vermont received $64,229 to support two key stigma reduction programs—Ending the Silence and In Our Own Voice. Ending the Silence is an outreach program for middle and high school students where trained presenters share data on mental health and suicide, as well as personal stories about mental health struggles and the journey to recovery. In Our Own Voice is a similar program but aimed at adults in the workplace and includes trained presenters sharing statistics and information in the context of their own personal experiences. Funding will allow NAMI Vermont to double down its efforts for both programs.

To learn about other organizations supported through the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention recovery initiative, click here. Moving forward, the Community Foundation will continue to work with donors and partners to explore other strategies for getting resources to organizations supporting mental health and suicide prevention. To learn more, including how you can support this work, please contact Jane Kimble at jkimble@vermontcf.org or 802-388-3355 ext. 286.

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