HCN News & Notes

Health New England Offers $100,000 in Grants to Address Mental-health, Opioid Epidemic

SPRINGFIELD — Health New England will award grants totaling $100,000 to eligible nonprofit organizations with programs that work to address mental health and the opioid epidemic in Western Mass. The programs must address health equity and at least one social determinant of health and focus on Health New England’s service area, including Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties.

One in five adults in Health New England’s service area experience depression, according to the company’s Community Health Needs Assessment. The opioid crisis has grown in the last several years. For instance, in 2020, Hampden County experienced the highest rate of emergency medical service calls related to opioid overdoses of any county in the state, the assessment reports.

“The mental-health crisis and opioid-use disorder have hit our home counties hard, and the impact of health and societal inequities in these cases is undeniable,” said Richard Swift, president and CEO of Health New England. “It is our hope that these grants help remove barriers under-resourced communities face to allow residents to enjoy better mental health and avoid or recover from opioid addiction so they may thrive.”

Social determinants of health include built environment (including transportation and access to healthy foods), education, employment, housing, social environment (including social isolation and institutional racism, and violence and trauma.

IRS-designated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that manage innovative, community-based programs benefiting underserved residents may apply for Health New England grants through Sept. 11. Only complete submissions made online will be considered. Nonprofit organizations will be eligible for Health New England community-benefit funding only once per calendar year. Click here to apply.

In its fourth year, the grant program has awarded nearly $340,000 to local nonprofits addressing health equity in Western Mass. Anyone with questions may email communitygiving@hne.com.