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WAMU Radio: The Community Foundation’s Support for Mental Health Services in a Troubled Economy

July 30, 2010

Terri Lee Freeman: Photo
Author: Terri Lee Freeman

The stress of daily life can take its toll on all of us. But for people in our region who have lost their jobs, are facing foreclosure or can’t afford to pay for prescriptions, life can be truly overwhelming – even life-threatening.

Yesterday I sat down with WAMU Radio for a story about the mental and emotional impact of the economy on those who are financially disadvantaged.

You can listen to the story now on WAMU’s website.

We can’t overlook the psychological impact of losing one’s livelihood, home or health insurance, not to mention the emotional toll of the economic crisis on those who didn’t have homes or jobs to begin with.

With that in mind, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region recently awarded grants through our Neighbors in Need Fund in support of mental health programs throughout the region.

Since the recession began, more people, including the “new poor,” have been showing up at community health clinics, many without health insurance and many in need of mental health services. Nonprofits have been reporting alarming trends, such as an increase in substance abuse, domestic violence and the number of calls to local suicide hotlines.

Community Foundation grants have helped organizations serve uninsured residents, provide culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services, extend clinic hours and restore staff positions that had been cut.

There’s a saying, says Satira Streeter, the only licensed clinical psychologist in Ward 8. “When rich people catch a cold, poor folk catch pneumonia. Well, we’re definitely seeing pneumonia.” Yet, Dr. Streeter adds, “By recognizing that good mental health care is a necessity and not an option, The Community Foundation is truly helping our neighbors in need rebuild their lives and their families.”

Please, help The Community Foundation continue to invest in mental health and other critical safety net services in our region, and donate to the Neighbors in Need Fund.

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