Our Focus

For two decades, Touchstone Foundation has provided a community benefit to Lancaster County, PA., as a result of the sale in 1999 of Community Hospital (an osteopathic hospital).

“There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling children out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in.” – Desmond Tutu

Here at Touchstone Foundation, we focus on strategic solutions that prevent our young people from falling into the river of despair, depression, anxiety, and mental illness. Yet, at the same time, we recognize that there are many thousands of children who also need to be rescued from the torrents of struggles in the river of depression, childhood trauma, and toxic stress.  

Unfortunately, our healthcare system is often focused on illness, not wellness. At Touchstone Foundation, we invest in youth mental wellness. And the needs here in Lancaster County are astonishing. Here is a summary of the 2021 Pennsylvania Youth Survey data for Lancaster County (p. 59-62).  

In a 10th grade classroom of 25 students, 14- or 15-year-olds, in Lancaster County- 

  • 8 students are depressed. These kids felt so depressed, that during the past 12 months, they felt so sad or hopeless every day for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some of their usual activities. 
  • Depression is the number one risk factor for suicide by teens, a risk amplified in teens self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death nationwide.  
  • Here in Lancaster County, 32% of all high school students in grades 10 -12 reported feeling depressed in 2021. That means about 7,924 students reported depression symptoms last year. 
  • 5 of the 25 students seriously considered attempting suicide in the prior year.  
  • 4 students out of 25 kids in a local 10th grade class planned how they would attempt suicide.  
  • In Lancaster County, 20% of all high school students in grades 10 to 12 reported that they seriously considered suicide in the past year. That is an estimated 4,952 Lancaster County teens.  
  • Finally, 3 students represent 10% of Lancaster County 10th graders who attempted suicide in the past 12 months.  
  • Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 to 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the United States.  

 

There is a shortage of mental healthcare providers in Lancaster County, especially for youth and children. The need for more mental healthcare capacity leaves parents frustrated and primary care providers desperate for training and referral options to help patients. 

Building talent and improving access

For more than two decades, the Touchstone Foundation has been serving the community of Lancaster, PA. In 2014, we commissioned an in-depth assessment of mental and behavioral health needs of children and adolescents in Lancaster County and refined our organizational planning to meet the most pressing issues.  

Our strategic plan has two main goals:

Building capacity for youth mental health—there is a clear need for more mental health professionals with skills specific to youth mental health. Our clinical supervision collaborative provides monthly training and grant funds to mental health providers. We also offer mental health careers scholarships and continuing education training for healthcare providers.

Improving access to youth mental health resources—through our copay assistance program, we help hundreds of youth gain access to care. We fund annual grants that support local nonprofits whose work improves youth mental health access in Lancaster County. In addition, our NavWell program helps primary care providers screen, refer, and manage youth mental healthcare. 

Finding innovative solutions in the future

We are continually looking to invest in innovative ideas and evidence-based programs for achieving our goals and where possible, expanding our mission of achieving mental well-being for all children and youth. We regularly convene our grantees and partners to discuss community needs and solutions. And we partner with our colleagues across healthcare and philanthropy to address policy change and community needs assessments.  

Anti-Discrimination Policy

Touchstone Foundation provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment consideration with applicable law. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.  

The Community Benefit Organizations and Agencies served by Touchstone Foundation must serve the members of the Lancaster County community without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by Touchstone Foundation.  

Additionally, Touchstone Foundation does not generally provide grant support to individuals, for-profit organizations, firms, or companies, athletic, recreational, labor, fraternal, political, lobbying, or social organizational, or national organizations without local affiliation. Touchstone Foundation will only fund programs at religious agencies and organizations, or other organization, if the programs are open to all members of Lancaster County without regard to religious affiliation or belief and contain no bias toward any religion.