Since 2015, Touchstone Foundation, formerly known as LOHF (Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation) has provided children’s behavioral health grants to improve access for youth and families in Lancaster County. We will continue to fund youth mental wellness services that improve access to mental and behavioral health services in Lancaster County.
We are announcing a pause for our Fall 2022 grants cycle to reevaluate, assess, and determine specific local youth mental wellness needs. Youth and families are experiencing unprecedented wait lists for mental health care and crisis levels of mental health needs for kids, teens, and young people. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already tenuous youth mental health care system.
Although we will not open our Fall 2022 grants process, we still encourage our local community benefit organizations to contact us with specific funding requests during Fall 2022. While our regular grants cycle is paused, we will still consider funding requests for high need areas, such as maternal mental health, school-based mental health services, and supporting teens and young adults as they transition from pediatric to adult mental health services.
We are especially interested in supporting efforts that bring mental health care to specific populations of youth and families who are underserved, such as LGBTQ+ youth, youth in the juvenile justice system, and youth in the foster care system. To discuss grant funding requests, please contact Shanece Bowman, Programs Manager, by September 15, 2022. Letters of Intent will be due October 15, 2022.
“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.
At the 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. Here in Lancaster County, according to the 2021 PA Youth Survey, 32% of all high school students in grades 10 -12 reported feeling depressed; an estimated 7,924 students reported depression symptoms last year. We must support these young people and their families with mental health services that result in real, lasting change in Lancaster County.
Soon, we will begin a Youth Listening Tour with local community partners to begin updating our 2015 Youth and Children’s Behavioral Health Needs Assessment. We seek to hear directly from youth, parents/caregivers, and families about mental and behavioral health needs, plus solutions and opportunities for future funding, and advocacy and policy changes. Please contact us if you are interested in participating in our Youth Listening Tour.
We plan to issue a Request for Applications (RFA) process that responds to the mental health needs of youth, young people, and families in our community. We seek deliberate and intentional partnerships, encouraging community partners to propose ideas and solutions. The intent of this pause is to listen and learn from youth, and to take the time to turn that listening into action with the creation of an RFA process for future funding.
To learn more about Touchstone Foundation: youth mental wellness partners, please visit touchstonefound.org, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 717-397-8722.