Governor Ducey announces $550,000 from AZ coronavirus relief fund to support mental health organizations

(KEYC News Now)
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 3:25 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Governor Doug Ducey today announced $550,000 from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund has been allocated to 13 organizations in Arizona that offer mental health support services for adults and children. 

As vaccinations increase across the country and more activities return to normal, experts warn that people may continue to suffer negative mental health effects as a result of the pandemic. The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that more than half of Americans say that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health. 

“Even before the pandemic, we have been working diligently to address issues such as isolation and disconnection, especially among our young people,” said Governor Ducey. “COVID-19 has made that effort more urgent. These dollars will bolster the efforts of more than a dozen organizations around the state working to provide mental health support to those in need. As we move forward, we must make sure we are supporting the whole health of our state’s citizens.”

”Text messages to our suicide prevention hotline for teens increased over 450% during the pandemic,” said Michelle Moorhead, Executive Director, Teen Lifeline. “The grant from the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund supports our statewide crisis text service that provides a lifesaving connection to hope for teens who feel disconnected, overwhelmed, isolated or depressed.”

Among the mental health services offered by the recipient, organizations include youth and teen after-school programs, suicide prevention, adult mental health recovery, behavioral health therapy, and more.

Organizations receiving funding include:

  • Arizona Behavioral Health Corporation
  • Black Family & Children’s Services
  • Horses Help
  • Hunkapi
  • ICAN
  • Our Place Clubhouse
  • Native Americans For Community Action
  • National Alliance on Mental Health Arizona
  • Mentally Ill Kids in Distress
  • Reigning Grace
  • Teen Lifeline
  • Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT)
  • West Yavapai Guidance Clinic

“The COVID crisis has deeply affected the mental wellness of many communities in Arizona, in particular those with low/no access to mental health resources,” said Shelby Pedersen, CEO, ICAN. “This generous grant from the Coronavirus Relief Fund will allow us to bring these much-needed resources to underserved youth, particularly during the summer months when students are out of school and further disconnected from vital support systems. We are so grateful for the funding and will put it to immediate use to better the mental wellness of school-aged children.”

”Native Americans for Community Action, Inc. (NACA) is very thankful and delighted to receive this funding from the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund so that we may further our mental health services to the community,” said Jeff Axtell, CEO, Native Americans for Community Action, Inc. “With this funding we can provide adjunctive therapy services, transportation and ceremonial assistance for our clients who have been devastated by this pandemic over the past year. We appreciate the Governor’s office in that they are assisting our Indigenous relatives with access to the much-needed mental health services that they may otherwise go without, thank you!”         

“As a mental health organization we have continued to provide live, animal therapy services through an unprecedented time,” said Terra Schaad, Founder and Executive Director, Hunkapi. “The pandemic has shown us the need for connection, touch, and relationship and our horses are able to provide those things when human touch and friendships are less common and accessible than before. Receiving this grant allows Hunkapi to continue in its mission to ‘Teach the world to fear less and love more,’ and open up services to more youth at risk and trauma survivors. We are honored and incredibly grateful to have been selected as a recipient from the Governor’s office.”

”The isolation associated with the pandemic has left its scars on so many and this grant is a complete game changer for Therapeutic Riding of Tucson,” said Jeff Copfer, Executive Director, Therapeutic Riding of Tucson. “Our part-time therapist specializing in equine facilitated psychotherapy, will now be able to dedicate her time to TROT and help more in need of healing as a result of COVID-19. She will begin hosting teen support groups, women’s support groups, family sessions, and take on more individual sessions. Additionally, the grant allows us to purchase supplies for group sessions, build a confidence course, and a shade structure for our round pen to facilitate counseling sessions during summer.”

The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund was established by Governor Ducey as part of the Arizona Together Initiative to provide financial support to non-profit organizations serving Arizonans in need statewide during the pandemic. The fund collected $10 million in private donations and has disbursed roughly $9.3 million to date.

Funding requests are reviewed and approved by an independent five-member committee working in consultation with Arizona’s philanthropic community. To date, funding has been allocated for the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline medical personnel; to aid non-profit organizations such as food banks, homeless shelters, domestic violence facilities, and other institutions; to equip low-income students with learning technology; and more.

One hundred percent of contributions are being directly distributed to organizations supporting Arizonans during the COVID-19 outbreak and recovery effort.

More information can be found HERE.

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