SPRINGFIELD — Mercy Medical Center’s Community Health and Well Being (CHWB) Department has received three separate grants totaling $272,000 to support a variety of community issues identified in the hospital’s 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). The grants, made available through Trinity Health, require Mercy’s CHWB Department to facilitate and manage the funding in partnership with community-based organizations that have an established relationship with the targeted population of individuals who are underserved by currently available services.
The first grant, totaling $90,000, will support the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts through the Youth Mental Health Coalition and Live Well Springfield. The funding will be used to expand communications capacity to support health education, policy advocacy, and community outreach regarding mental-health and substance-abuse issues, as well as heart disease and asthma, by increasing staff coordination, developing campaign messaging, and implementing and advertising initiatives. Funding will also be used to expand accessibility of campaigns for individuals who speak Spanish or have disabilities.
The second grant, totaling $50,000, will help Way Finders provide assistance to residents to sustain health, well-being, and housing, especially in light of challenges tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will address housing security, social isolation, language isolation, food security, financial literacy, transportation, physical health, and emergent resident needs.
The third grant, totaling $132,000, will be used to support two programs that offer mental-health services: GRIT (Grow, Reimagine, Inspire, Transform) Holyoke and the Safe Haven Program in Westfield. Of that, $112,000 will be used to install a fire-suppression system at GRIT Holyoke that will allow the Mental Health Assoc. (MHA) to expand the capacity of its residence specifically to LGBTQ+ individuals who are struggling with mental-health and substance-use disorders. The remaining $20,000 will be used to create a ‘safe room’ at MHA’s Safe Haven that will enable the program to serve more homeless individuals with severe mental-health illness each year.
Every three years, Trinity Health hospitals conduct a CHNA with community partners, using data and community input to measure the relative health and well-being of a community. The results of the assessment are then used to create a strategy outlining how the hospital, along with community partners, will address the needs of the local community.
“At Mercy Medical Center, our mission calls us to serve as a transforming, healing presence. We are grateful to Trinity Health for these grants as they will have a significant impact on our efforts to further that mission and expand services to vulnerable patient populations,” said Deborah Bitsoli, president of Mercy Medical Center and Trinity Health Of New England Medical Group.