SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Health New England is taking proactive steps to combat the mental health crisis and opioid epidemic in western Massachusetts by offering grants totaling $100,000 to eligible non-profit organizations.

The grant aims to address health equity and social determinants of health (SDoH) in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties.

According to Health New England’s Community Health Needs Assessment, one in five adults in the service area experiences depression. The opioid crisis continues to pose a significant challenge, with Hampden County reporting the highest rate of Emergency Medical Service calls related to opioid overdoses in the state in 2020.

Richard Swift, President and CEO of Health New England, emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, “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. 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.”

To be eligible for the grants, IRS-designated 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations must manage innovative community-based programs benefiting underserved residents. The programs should address mental health, opioid addiction, health equity, and at least one of the social determinants of health (Built environment, Education, Employment, Housing, Social environment, Violence and trauma). The deadline for applying for Health New England DEIB grants is September 11.

Having already awarded nearly $340,000 in the past four years to local non-profits focusing on health equity in western Massachusetts, Health New England remains dedicated to supporting initiatives that tackle these pressing health challenges head-on.

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